Stratford Perth Museum open to the public with new and exciting exhibits
The Stratford Perth Museum has been open to the public for a few weeks now, allowing visitors to explore and enjoy all the new and refreshed exhibits museum staff had been working during the pandemic.
After 16 months of waiting for the day when they could safely reopen, staff at the Stratford Perth Museum are finally able to show off all of their new exhibits.
“We were really happy when they said we could have the exhibit for last year and, then, when last year was a wash, we were really happy that they said, ‘Just hang onto the exhibit and you can have it when you open in 2021,” museum general manager John Kastner said. “So we’ve got it from now until early 2022 … and this is the only place where this exhibit can be seen in Canada this year.”
The exhibit returned with new information and images displayed, along a detailed timeline of Frank’s life and additional information about Frank’s story, the Anne Frank House itself and the room where she lived during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.
“The critical piece to this thing is it’s in chronological order. … Fortunately for us, we have the space and it flows in a way that fits naturally,” Kastner said.
Complementing the Frank exhibit and adding context to her story is a number of artifacts on loan from the Montreal Holocaust Museum that highlight the stories of Jewish Canadians who experienced the horrors of the Holocaust and lived or served in Europe during the Second World War.
“We’re the only museum that uses exhibits from both museums at the same time to augment the Anne Frank exhibit with actual artifacts,” Kastner said.
“Tim Patterson (Tom’s son) and the family made a huge difference in this exhibit,” Kastner said. “(Manager of collections and exhibits) Micaela (Fitzsimmons) worked with the Stratford Festival Archives, the Stratford-Perth Archives, and then we reached out to Tim Patterson. Micaela went down to visit him and she came back with the mould for the bust, came back with his bowtie, some war medals, and now … they’re friends of ours’.”
Though it’s not quite ready, Kastner noted staff and members of the Off the Wall Stratford Artists Alliance are preparing to install a thrust stage designed and built to be a one-third replica of the stage now in the Festival Theatre as part of the accompanying Stratford Festival exhibit.
“We’ll use the stage to display articles and items from each year’s Festival season,” Kastner said, noting the stage will be installed in about two weeks. “We’re also going to recreate a throne as well, which will be a great selfie spot where you can sit on stage and get your photo taken.”
Finally, as guests enter and exit the museum, they will notice a massive clock from the old Stratford Post Office hanging on the wall. Part original and part reproduction, the clock was created as a companion piece to the post office bell hanging just outside the museum’s front door.