ANHS hosts 'I Spy' game on Family Day

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I spy... a whole lot of Family Day fun at Annandale National Historic Site on Monday, Feb. 19.

Home of a trivia-based Family Day Scavenger Hunt for the past 10 years, this year Tillsonburg's ANHS will put a twist on its 'hunt' offering a game of I Spy.

"We have been doing the scavenger hunt where you have questions that you answer around the community, and finding items, as well as in the museum since Family Day began," said Patricia Phelps, Manager of Culture and Heritage/Curator at 30 Tillson Ave. "So we decided that maybe we should put a little twist on that this year."

Anticipating the possibility of a cold, snowy Family Day, Phelps said they are keeping it indoors this years with their I Spy game at Annandale House, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

"People are encouraged to pick up an I Spy sheet at the front desk, and you have to find in Annandale House, images or items that are on the sheet.

"Anyone, any age, can participate," Phelps noted.

It's almost like playing Where's Waldo, she said, except you're not looking for red-striped shirts.

"We are encouraging people to come and really have a closer look at all the incredible decorative details in the house by doing our I Spy game."

For those who would like a guided tour, six tours are available on the hour starting at 10 a.m. The last tour starts at 3 p.m. and each tour can take up to one hour.

"We started this a couple years ago and our volunteer tour guides are all ready to go," said Phelps. "So if you've never been through the house on an actual guided tour... this is a good time to do it."

Admission on Family Day is by donation.

"Anything families would like to give, we do appreciate."

Playing the I Spy game does not require joining a guided tour - you can come in any time between 10-4, although Phelps recommends starting before 3 p.m. to complete the game. And that adds to its appeal - it's perfect for families who are on the go, whether they're at the community centre, exploring the outdoors or just visiting other families and friends.

"If you want to come in just to do the I Spy game, you can come to the front desk, pick up a sheet and head through the museum."

A prize will be awarded to the person with the most correct answers. If there is a tie, the winner will be determined by a draw. The prize is a 'family fun pack.' Typically it includes games and activities for families.

"It can be one entry per family, but we are always open to something different," she said, noting they sometimes have families that divide up for the competition. As an example, mother and daughters against husband and sons. "We're always open to let whoever in the family wants to try their hand, to get a sheet."

Participants may be looking for a particular design - it could be on the ceiling, the floor or on wallpaper - or even a specific item on display. It might be a photograph somewhere in the building.

When you find an answer, you identify the room on the I Spy sheet. Each of the rooms will be easily identified, said Phelps.

"It's something new and different. We always like to have a little twist every year to give people a new reason to come. And this year the museum is celebrating its 45th anniversary in June, so we thought it would be nice to have people come and really have a close-up look at the building, but also the exhibits. Some of the things have been in the museum since 1973, and we thought it would be a great way to start the celebration of that."

Pratt Gallery

The current ANHS exhibit in the Pratt Gallery is 'From Soldier to Civilian: Oxford's Own Goes to War.' It runs until March 25.

The exhibition looks at what happened when the men and women who served in WWI came home, and the challenges and changes they faced integrating on their return. From Soldier to Civilian is a traveling exhibit, part of the Oxford Remembers - Oxford's Own project, from the Woodstock Museum.

"It's our last exhibit for the World War I project," said Phelps. "Every year we get travelling exhibits. Normally we get them in the fall, but this year, the way the scheduling worked out, our turn was the beginning of the year.

"It actually has a lot of content about Tillsonburg, what happened when 'the boys came home.' There was an armistice celebration, and as soon as you walk in the door Broadway jumps right out at you on one of the big panels, with the big 1919 parade that happened on Armistice Day.

"It's hard to believe we're moving into the final year of that Oxford Remembers project," said Phelps, noting Oxford did meet its goal of 100 special events since 2014 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I.

"I think we'll actually be a little bit over 100."

Several commemorative medallions, which were awarded to WWI veterans on their return, are also on display. The exhibit also highlights some of the cenotaphs built around the county.

"It really is an amazing exhibit to come through and see," Phelps summed up. 



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