BOUND & DETERMINED: Chloe Cooley, Enslavement and the Fight for Freedom (June 2 - November 13, 2023)
The North Star. The Promised Land. Canadians pride themselves on knowing that our country was a safe haven for people escaping enslavement from the United States. However, what Canadians don't realize is that slavery existed here for over 200 years. About 600 enslaved people of African descent lived in Upper Canada (Ontario) up to 1834, and at least 80 lived in Niagara-on-the-Lake (NOTL).
2023 marks the 230th Anniversary of the passing of the first anti-slavery legislation in the British Empire, which was passed here in NOTL. And this is all thanks to a strong-willed Black woman named Chloe Cooley...
Co-Curators: Rochelle Bush, Natasha Henry-Dixon, Sarah Kaufman, and Shawna Butts.
OUR STORY (Permanent exhibit)
This exhibition explore 9,000 years of history from Indigenous history to the tourism boom of the 1970s. The gallery contains such significant artefacts as a powder horn belonging to Chief Joseph Brant, the Indian Department Coatee worn by Daniel Servos during the American Revolutionary War, uniforms from the War of 1812 and other items from Niagara's long history.
Niagara On the Eve of War (February 1, 2012-December 31, 2012)
Commemorating the bicentennial of the War of 1812, this exhibit focused on the local community during the War of 1812 and the first battle in Niagara: The Battle of Queenston Heights.
Battlefield Niagara (February 1, 2013-December 31, 2013)
This exhibition was a continuation of Niagara on the Eve of War, and explored what was happening locally in 1813 during the War of 1812 including the Battle of Fort George, the occupation of Niagara by American Forces, and the burning of Niagara.
The Art of War: A Legacy of the Great War (February 1, 2014-October 14, 2014)
A commemorative exhibition marking the centennial of the First World War and featured paintings, sketches, war posters, trench art, and more.
Enjoy Your Stay (November 1, 2014-March 31, 2015)
An exploration of early hotels and inns in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Life Under Canvas: Niagara Camp 1915-1919 (April 15, 2015-April 15, 2016)
This exhibition provided insight into the experiences of the men and women who trained at Niagara Camp for service during the First World War.
Janet’s Gems (May 1, 2016 – October 31, 2016)
An exhibition that celebrated 120 years of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum’s collection. This history has been slightly altered and made available through our Google Arts and Culture: https://artsandculture.google.com/story/jQXhOV5_t-WhLA .
Through the Voices of Beads (January 5, 2017-April 30, 2017)
This travelling exhibition from the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) featured Iroquois beadwork from the ROM and artist, Samuel Thomas.
Putting Down Roots (May 15, 2017-October 31, 2017)
Celebrating 150 years since Canada’s Confederation, this exhibition explored the history of the groups of people who settled, immigrated, or sought refuge in our community. This exhibition has been made available through a series of smaller stories on Google Arts and Culture: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/niagara-historical-society-museum
Camp Kosciuszko: The Polish Army at Niagara Camp, 1917-1919 (November 11, 2017-November 15, 2018)
An exhibition that commemorated the 100th anniversary of the opening of Camp Kosciuszko, where thousands of soldiers of Polish descent trained before being sent to fight in the First World War to help free Poland from 123 years of occupation. This exhibition has been made available through a series of smaller stories on Google Arts and Culture: https://artsandculture.google.com/story/5gXRwQnYiYr5Iw
Painting Niagara-on-the-Lake (November 27, 2018-May 4, 2019)
An exhibition of paintings depicting Niagara-on-the-Lake landscapes or built heritage. This exhibition has been made available through a series of smaller stories on Google Arts and Culture: https://artsandculture.google.com/search/exhibit?p=niagara-historical-society-museum
From Head to Toe (May 16, 2019-October 31, 2019)
This exhibition brought together a wide variety of garments, hats, shoes and accessories to showcase what the fashionable man and women wore from head to toe from the 1790s until the 1950s.
A Piece of Her Mind (November 12, 2019- April 25, 2020)
This display featured textiles entirely from the Museum’s collection and illuminated the lives of some of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s women through the samplers, quilts, and woven textiles that they created or were created for them.
Making Her Mark: The Women of Niagara-on-the-Lake (October 28, 2020-October 24, 2021* Extended due to COVID-19)
This exhibit explored some of the women in Niagara-on-the-Lake’s history, including courageous environmentalists, heritage activists, artists, scientists, war heroes, teachers, matriarchs, politicians, and professionals. This exhibition was created in anticipation of our upcoming book, of the same title, and can be purchased: https://notlmuseumshop.square.site/product/making-her-mark-the-women-of-niagara-on-the-lake/543?cp=true&sa=false&sbp=false&q=true
Photographic Memory (November 9, 2021-April 30, 2022)
This exhibition explored photographs of the community from 1945 to 1985.
All Along the Waterfront (May 18, 2022-May 22, 2023)
An exploration of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s relationship with the Niagara River and Lake Ontario including industries, recreation, and environmental implications. This exhibition has started to be made available through a series of smaller stories on Google Arts and Culture: https://artsandculture.google.com/story/jwVB_bEAQCqpAw