Olde Gaol Museum
50 Victoria Ave N.
Lindsay ON K9V 4G3
tel: 705-324-3404
Winter Hours
Thursday: 10:00am-4:00pm
Sunday:     1:00pm-4:00pm
Closed for the Xmas holiday
Dec 20/14 - Jan 5/15

Exhibits, Winter 2015

On Now - Winter Feature Exhibit


Our feature exhibit focuses on how this feisty minister of militia and local member of parliament organized a frequently controversial, though highly successful, campaign to create an expeditionary force to fight in Europe during the First World War (1914-1918).

On Display Now


Very kindly donated by professional railroad modeller, Larry Murphy, comes a large collection of heritage tracks, engines and trains. Guess what your kid will want for Christmas!

January 2015


Fresh from its original home in Omemee comes the famous Youngtown Museum – An eclectic display depicting the development of popular music, with a special focus on singer/songwriter/musician Neil Young.

April 2015

W. A. GOODWIN (1840-1940)

Discover the overlooked artist who made Lindsay his home and the Kawartha Lakes his inspiration for nearly a century as you visit this exhibit #WAG: The Life and Art of W.A.Goodwin

February 2015


An award-winning travelling exhibit prepared by the OPP Museum in Orillia, Arresting Images features 100 Mug Shots from 1886 - 1908.
A series of special events, including presentations about life in the old Lindsay gaol, are being planned around this exhibit.
More details can be found at the OPP Museum Website


President's Message

It has been a banner year for the Victoria County Historical Society and Olde Gaol Museum. Thanks to the government of Ontario Trillium Grant we have been able to hire David Wesley as our Museum Manager. With the active participation of the Board and volunteers, David has already embarked on a number of initiatives to take our organization and museum to the next level-I have asked David to write a report detailing the plans and proposals we are working on elsewhere in this newsletter.

We had a successful Christmas House Tour, Halloween 2013, Family Day Event and March Break programs, and Darlene and I have been active on a number of fronts to encourage making Heritage a priority for area residents and elected representatives.

The coming year will also be a time of transition for the Society and the Museum - new members,additional employees, new faces on the Board of Directors, new plans for museum exhibits and programs - we embark on this together, into the next phase of engaging the people of Kawartha Lakes in reflecting and understanding our collective histories. You will be hearing details as the year progresses.

On a personal note, I may step down as President after this year’s AGM, and Darlene and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the many people who have helped us establish our heritage centre and ensure the Society’s survival.


>> Dave's Notes <<

First of all, let me say what a pleasure it has been to meet many of you – I hope to meet all of you when we hold our members only night on May 15 – there will be refreshments – so circle it on your calendar.

Second ,let me say how rewarding and engaging it has been to work at the museum over the past few months.. so kindly indulge me when I take an opportunity to extend some thanks.

It is a time of transition and moving forward for us. The work of many has assured the survival and presence of the Mu- seum and Historical Society. Now it’s time to build on their efforts and take us to the next level.

So thanks to John and Darlene Macklem, to such the stalwart volunteers as Liz Henderson, Mark Foley, Donna and Jim, Tom and Jackie and many others who have brought us to the enviable position we are in today.

And while I resist singling people out – so many have helped – it would be remiss to not mention the work of Claus Reuter, with the support of Sonja. He’s in everyday, does a lot of some things (military displays etc.) and some of a whole lot of things.

We are now ready to move on to the next level – focused on:

  • Getting more people into the museum
  • Extending the museum’s visibility in the community
  • Reaching out to other groups and institutions
  • Extending our volunteer and staff base
  • Achieving ongoing funding

Sir Sam Hughes

Sir Sam Hughes Exhibit

A major exhibit about one of the area`s most famous people, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the First World War. His uniform is now at the Conservation Institute in Ottawa or restoration and will be a centrepiece of the exhibit - as will two large paintings of Hughes from the War Museum in Ottawa. We have just received full size exact reproductions to keep here. The exhibit will also feature Hughes artifacts and documents/photos; and tour after its run in the museum, which begins in early fall.

Newly Donated Items to our Military Collection

  1917 Victory Bonds pin

Three War Medals  

Textile/Clothing Exhibit: our feature exhibit for the summer of 2014

1914 Exhibit

Community Profile

All of the above enhances our visibility in the community, but we don’t stop there.

Media/marketing –
we have had good coverage in the newspapers, radio and television from the Christmas House Tour to the present. A simple photo in Kawartha Lakes This Week prior to Family Day resulted in over 100 visitors on Family Day alone and donated admissions. Cogeco Cable has often featured the museum and VCHS events in its Around the Town program on Lindsay cable, and we are about to film a series of “Museum Moments” for broadcast regularly on Cogeco. We will also embark on a new round of media events as our new exhibits and programs open.

Partnerships –
we are working with Settler’s Village in Bobcaygeon on a special program and display on Settler’s Day, with Heritage Victoria on Honouring the Past, with the Legion, the Art Gallery and Library. I have spoken to such groups as Rotary, the Flying Club, and Kawartha Antique Power. We have joined such organizations as The Canadian Club and Ontario Archeological Society, and lets us attend conferences such as the Ontario Museum Association – all to spread the word about our activities.

Visual Identity/logo/website –
While the ‘jail’ roots of our building will always be part of our displays and exhibits, our name convinces many people we are simply a museum about jails - they are unaware we in fact are the community museum for the Kawartha Lakes area. We have contacted the firm of PB&J to look at all aspects of branding - redesigning our website to give more information and make it more interactive and interesting, perhaps even changing our name and logo - all to better reflect who we are, what we have and what we do.

World War One on the Move

* This event is re-scheduled for summer 2015 *

Dog Fight
air-to-air combat
This is our major out-of-the-museum endeavour the year and for the next couple of years. It debuts at the Kawartha Lakes Airport this August on the weekend of the 23rd and 24th, commemorating the start of the First World war in the summer of 1914.

The Museum and VCHS, in partnership with the Great War Flying Museum and the Kawartha Lakes Airport to produce the two day event which will feature a fly-in and mock dog-fight with full size replica World war One aircraft, and demonstrations of our own William Bateman’s collection of original, operating First World War vehicles - motorcycles, cook wagons, ambulances and staff cars etc.

Other related exhibits on the ground will include the role of woman at the front in the War; the use of motorcycles; food production, processing and cooking during the War. The Knights of the Air, about Canada’s flying aces. The exhibits will be supported by costumed interpreters, films and in the case of food - food you can taste; and a display, thanks to Kawartha Antique Power, of steam engine tractors and farm machines.

You’ll get to see sneak previews of some of this at Settler’s Day and Honouring the Past, and once our weekend in August is over we hope to take the whole event on the road to other communities in Ontario and perhaps across Canada.

Volunteer, Staff Base and Funding

We are blessed with terrific volunteers and continue to welcome new ones – Roger Sharpe and Lynn McIntyre are among recent additions and much appreciated. But we can never get enough, so if you know anyone who would like to help out-just have them call us!

We have also been awarded two grants from the Victoria County Career Services to hire from provincial funds they administer. We have hired Ian McKechnie and more recently Courtney Bayes.

Ian knows the museum well from previous time served as a volunteer and summer student and has – among much else – overseen coordinating our archival materials and process with the Kawartha Lakes Library and the \Public Records Office so we aren’t duplicating services and functions. Courtney has just joined us and is assisting on a number of fronts.

In addition to receiving the above grants and of course the major Trillium Grant, we have applied for numbers of others and are in the process of applying. They include;

  • Museum Assistance Program (MAP) for 2015 - pending
  • Canadian Department of Heritage Commemorations Grant - pending
  • Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage (BCAH) - processing
  • RTD Ontario Tourism - processing
  • Young Canada Works - pending
  • Summer Student jobs program - pending

Brandon Allen continues as our primary co-op student and has rounded into one of our best tour guides. Spencer Crane has joined us as a co-op student for several hours each week.