What’s Old at the Museum- September 2021


As I entered the museum yesterday in search of what I would write about, I was struck by the number of artefacts that we have that create music.  As I thought about that, it was not really surprising, since before the days of Sirius XM, radios, streaming music and television.  People had to learn to play music in order to enjoy it.  It was how they entertained one another, either at dances or when they entertained at home or often simply for their own pleasure.  The first recording with playback ability was produced by Thomas Edison in 1877 and the first gramophone was invented in 1884 but it wasn’t distributed widely until much later.

That led me to research why music is so important to our lives.  Here is what I found out.  1st – It is something we all understand.  It supersedes all languages and cultures,  2nd – It creates ambience, 3rd – It brings people together, 4th – It allows the brain to function better, 5th – It assists in controlling emotions, 6th – It lets your imagination flow, 7th- It assists your memory and 8th – It provides pleasure.

In the museum (mostly centred in the music area but also scattered through the displays) we have the following artefacts: an Audio Harp played by Sarah Hicks and manufactured by the T. Eaton Co. complete with instructions (should anyone like to try it) an Atwater Kent 6 tube Radio, a Phonograph player, 2 Gramophones, a record player complete with 1/4 inch thick records which need to be wound up to play, Records telling the story of Lyle Gibson’s heroism, an Accordion, a Hexaphone, the Hartney School Band Drum dating back to 1894, a piano, 2 Church Organs, an entire collection of school bells and an antique radio in a wooden case that uses tubes to operate.


Over the summer, we have had the bricks repointed on the outside of the museum, replaced the toilet, hot water heater and furnace and will soon be purchasing two laptops to be able to play our audio memories collection.  Visitors to the museum were down this year due to Covid with only slightly over 100 people.  Once again we had Gian Lou Almanzo as our summer student and we would like to thank her and wish her well as she continues her nursing studies.


We are trying to form an audio library of stories people have to tell us about growing up and living in Hartney.  This will be an ongoing project starting shortly and will be done using digital recordings.  If you have anything you would like to tell us about, please contact Dawne McKenzie at 858-2071 or Barbara Lee at 858-2358

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