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NOTL Museum events celebrate museum month

There will be free admission on International Museum Day (May 18)

The NOTL Museum is celebrating “May is Museum Month” with an exhibition opening, a lecture, five neighbourhood walks, and free admission on International Museum Day (May 18).

Since 1977, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) has organized International Museum Day to highlight the role museums plays worldwide, in communities large and small. Each year focusses on different themes. For 2024, the focus is on Museums for Education and Research. The Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum is proud to actively support these themes in all their sustainable programming, exhibitions, and community involvement.

The month of May is a fine example of exactly those themes: the NOTL Museum’s new exhibit “The Prettiest Town – Beyond the Bricks and Mortar” opens to the public on May 17, featuring Niagara-on-the-Lake’s unique heritage homes; an evening lecture on May 16 with Adam Shoalts, professional adventurer and Explorer-in-Residence at the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, sold out in days; and all the neighbourhood walks have lengthy waiting lists, showing a keen community interest in all things historical.

This year, in honour of “May is Museum Month”, The Honourable Neil Lumsden, Ontario's Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, highlights the 700 plus museums, galleries and heritage sites throughout Ontario. “These institutions don’t just collect, preserve, and contextualize history, they also play a crucial role in our economy, creating jobs, attracting visitors, and driving local business.”

His words are echoed by NOTL Museum’s Managing Director and Curator, Sarah Kaufman. “One of the reasons we chose an exhibit on the amazing heritage homes in Niagara-on-the Lake, is that they are not only part of our heritage landscape, but also a major part of our tourism economy.” Kaufman said the new exhibit will feature some of the earliest surviving homes built after the War of 1812. “We are fortunate here because we have so many examples of this period. The difficulty was choosing homes that have enough pieces in our collection that help tell their stories.” In addition, said Kaufman, the provincial government’s amendment to the Ontario Heritage Act, as a result of Bill 23, could negatively impact the cultural landscape of our municipality by endangering undesignated houses that have historical significance. “And so, this is a critical time for a community to understand the importance of preserving these heritage homes,” said Kaufman.

“The Prettiest Town – Beyond the Bricks and Mortar runs from May 17 to December 17, 2024. The Museum is open seven days a week, 10 – 5pm. For more information, visit