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KAM and COVID-19 Statement

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Explorers

Explorers

We have 35+ art galleries, museums and historic sites for you to visit! Check them out here.

Welcome to the Kingston Association of Museums, Art Galleries & Historic Sites!

We are a not-for-profit professional network and collaborative resource hub supporting the Kingston region's cultural heritage sector. 

The Kingston Association of Museums, Art Galleries and Historic Sites, otherwise known as KAM, first emerged 40 years ago as a community-initiated, professional support network to promote public awareness and increase engagement across Kingston’s cultural heritage sites through collective promotional and programming initiatives. KAM is also engaged in supporting its membership through the dissemination of information, sector best practices, and professional development opportunities.

Our members range from federally owned sites with professional staff, to sites which are member-owned and volunteer operated. Some operate seasonally; others are open year round.  Many have specialist collections that tell the stories and histories of our communities from local, regional and national perspectives. From its inception, KAM was driven by the ideal that by working collaboratively, despite differences in size, mandates and resources, cultural heritage sites and organizations could quite simply; do better together, improving practice and strengthening their connections within and across communities.

2020 marks our 40th anniversary and we have much to celebrate. As the professional network and resource hub within Kingston’s cultural heritage landscape, KAM is committed to facilitating a resilient, innovative and responsive cultural heritage sector within the Kingston and area community.

 

We recognize that our work, and the work of our members, takes place on Indigenous territories across Eastern Ontario.

When I visited the Murney Tower before the COVID-19 pandemic, I was only vaguely aware of its Mediterranean connection. Recently, I’ve looked into the details. It’s tied to the Republic of Genoa, which was a maritime republic from the 11th century to the late 18th century, based in what is now the northwestern coast of Italy. Throughout its history, this republic established colonies in the...

When I visited the Murney Tower before the COVID-19 pandemic, I was only vaguely aware of its Mediterranean connection. Recently, I’ve looked into the details. It’s tied to the Republic of Genoa, which was a maritime republic from the 11th century to the late 18th century, based in what is now the northwestern coast of Italy. Throughout its history, this republic established colonies in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, including Corsica, Monaco, Southern Crimea and the islands of Lesbos and Chios. In order to protect its empire from pirates, it built strong, round forts like those you see dotted along Kingston’s waterfront. One of the Genoese forts was the Tora di Mortella on the island of Corsica, built between 1563 and 1565. Later, this and other towers provided defence against foreign armies. In 1794, this fort survived a naval attack from the British, but it was taken by land a few days later after some fierce fighting. The British were so impressed by the design that they replicated it throughout the British empire during the next century. You will find these towers in Jamaica, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Ireland, Australia, among other places. They all became known as Martello towers. Credit: COLLE M, Tour de la Mortella. Own work, Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 Since Kingston was a strategic, maritime location for the British, it is not surprising that four Martello towers were constructed here. They were built in the 1840s to defend Kingston against attacking ships in the event of a war with the United States. The British knew that the round structure and thick walls made the fort resistant to cannon fire. An additional asset was the gun platform at the top, housing cannons that could be pointed in different directions. In other countries, the towers did not have roofs, but because of Canada’s cold and snowy winters, all nine Canadian Martello towers had removable roofs. Credit: The Murney Tower Museum Murney Tower is the most westerly of the four towers built in Kingston. It’s located at the intersection of King and Barrie Streets. Heading east, the next one is the Shoal Tower in front of City Hall, then Fort Frederick at the Royal Military College and finally Cathcart Tower on Cedar Island. If you’re interested in the construction of the tower on Cedar Island, please see the blog Two bays, two stories. Two of Kingston’s Martello towers have been made into museums. While Fort Frederick is currently closed due to restoration work, Murney Tower is now open for pre-booked visits on weekends. Credit: The Murney Tower Museum On my last visit to the Murney Tower I took four children from two Syrian families who were new to Kington. On every floor there was something that caught their attention: the cannon on rails at the top, the dress-up station on the middle floor and the stone passageways on the lower level. The dress-up station has a variety of clothes for children to try on: soldiers’ uniforms, girl’s dresses and lady’s bonnets. As well as being fun, this is educational because it quickly becomes clear that women and children lived in the tower. A baby was even born within the walls of the fort.   Submitted by Paul Campbell for the Murney Tower’s photo project Just the sight of the fort brings pleasure to young and old alike. Who can’t like a dry ditch and a drawbridge? What child can’t resist running up and down the hill around the fort? The idea that this little museum has been a joy to Kingstonians and tourists over the years was the inspiration for Murney Tower’s online photo project earlier this year. People were encouraged to submit photos of family and friends at the Tower during any time period. The curator and manager, Simge Erdogan-O’Connor, will tell you that the response was wonderful. She told me about one photo from the 1960s showing a musical group, Growing Pains, performing at the top of the hill. It was submitted by Paul Campbell. The oldest photo dates to 1931. It was submitted by Isabel Wallace Gordon, who was a little girl when the photo was taken. Submitted by Isabel Wallace Gordon for the Murney Tower’s photo project Besides visiting the museum itself, you can sign up for one of Murney Tower’s online information sessions. In the Curator and Collection monthly Zoom series, Erdogan-O’Connor shares her enthusiasm and knowledge about 19th century life in Kingston. Each month is centred on a different artifact from the museum’s collection. Details about this free program are available on Facebook. I’m excited about the re-opening of the museum and will bring friends to see this charming piece of Kingston’s history. Details about hours are on the Murney Tower’s website. Credit for cover photo: The Murney Tower Museum Helen Cutts, KAM Visitor in Residence, Writer

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30-5 today come visit the Love Kingston Marketplace and the Pumphouse!...

From 9:30-5 today come visit the Love Kingston Marketplace and the Pumphouse!

As we await the days our sites can fully open again, we're excited to have this opportunity to share a bit of museum magic with Kingston.

Make sure you tag us in your photos with #KingstonMuseums
#VisitLocal @VisitKingstonCA
This week, why not take a step back into the past?...

This week, why not take a step back into the past?

By now, we’re sure you’ve heard of historic Fort Henry, but have you taken the time to experience all it has to offer?
Once you’re inside the gates you’re transported to 19th-century military life.

Experience the Fort Henry Guard, meet with the civilians of the fort, experience one of the many ceremonies and events, and more. Fort Henry is a beautiful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and a fantastic way to learn Kingston and Canada’s history by being thrown into it.

After Fort Henry, why not take the drive to Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg and continue your journey into the past. Experience the authentic buildings of the village and learn from the costumed interpreters who live and work there.

The village has everything from authentic farming, social life, music, work, schooling, and more from life in the 1860s. By the end of this time-travelling adventure, we’re sure you’ll have a new appreciation for generations of the past, but still grateful for the ways of living today.

Tag someone you’d love to time travel to the past with! #KingstonMuseums #VisitLocal
30-5 today come visit the Love Kingston Marketplace and the RMC Museum!...

From 9:30-5 today come visit the Love Kingston Marketplace and the RMC Museum!

As we await the days our sites can fully open again, we're excited to have this opportunity to share a bit of museum magic with Kingston.

Make sure you tag us in your photos with #KingstonMuseums
#VisitLocal
  • Kingston
  • The Great Waterway
  • KEDCO
  • Tourism Kingston
  • Ontario Heritage Trust