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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.

I love looking at vintage photographs in Kingston and area museums, especially scenes with horse-drawn wagons and carriages. While the scenes look peaceful, anyone who knows horses knows the potential for chaos to be unleashed. In the 1850s when Kingston’s streets were filled with horse-drawn wagons, an unexpected noise could spook a horse. If this happened just when the deliveryman was away...

I love looking at vintage photographs in Kingston and area museums, especially scenes with horse-drawn wagons and carriages. While the scenes look peaceful, anyone who knows horses knows the potential for chaos to be unleashed. In the 1850s when Kingston’s streets were filled with horse-drawn wagons, an unexpected noise could spook a horse. If this happened just when the deliveryman was away from his wagon, you could expect to see something resembling a comedy from the silent movie era. Runaway HorseCredit: Nash Ford Publishing: Accident Report, 1863 According to an article by Alvin Armstrong, “Horse power”, written as part of a series on Kingston’s history for the Whig Standard, a spooked horse would cause havoc, scaring people and chickens alike, until some brave soul could grab the horse’s bridle and heroically bring the runaway to a standstill.[1] If there were a team of horses in breakaway mode, you might see a young man running behind the wagon. He’d fling himself aboard and gradually move forward and grab the reins. Sometimes he’d have to step onto the wagon tongue and jump onto one of the horses to gain control. George McCausland’s team on the Cloyne-Kaladar routeCredit: Cloyne and District Historical Society, Bob Blatchford Album Armstrong explained that a spooked horse could travel very quickly and if it took a corner too sharply, it could tip the wagon and spill the goods. If the wagon crashed into a wooden post, it would break apart and send pieces flying in all directions. Hardly a serene image. Yet, for the most part, deliveries went smoothly. People could count on horse-drawn vehicles for delivery of goods such as bread, milk, salt pork and coal. Wealthier families had ice delivered, and businesses depended on horses for delivery of all manner of commercial goods. At the Museum of Lennox and Addington, I saw a fascinating photo of horse-drawn sleighs delivering bicycles in crates to the Normile Bicycle Works in Napanee. In addition, horses were essential to farmers, not only to work the farms, but also to bring their produce to market. Bicycle deliveriesCredit: N-02952 Museum of Lennox and Addington Archives As early as 1788, there was a market in Kingston at the same site as today’s market on King Street behind City Hall. At that time, there was no town – only a small village surrounded by forests. It was in this decade that the British started making land grants to refugees from the United States. On May 21, 1784, the first party of 109 refugees loyal to the British, the Loyalists, arrived in Cataraqui (as it was known then), having endured a difficult trip up the St. Lawrence River, where supplies had to be carried over portage routes and boats had to be dragged over the rocks and rapids.[2] At nightfall they had camped along the shoreline and gathered around campfires. Once they were assigned land in the Cataraqui area, they were given tents for use until they could make log huts from the trees they cut down. Each family was given seed allowances and farming tools and every two families received a plow and a cow to share. From these beginnings, today’s public market was born. 1934 Sketch by C. W. Jeffreys entitled, “Loyalists Camping on the St. Lawrence, 1784”Credit: Library and Archives Canada, 1972-26-1369 The Kingston Public Market was granted official status in 1801, thirty three years before Kingston was incorporated as a town. The goods available for purchase differed greatly from what is now on offer. Hunters and fisherman sold venison, game birds and fish caught locally, while other vendors sold wood for home heating, hay for livestock, wool for making clothes and iron nails for construction. The market was initially a collection of wooden stalls, but when a huge fire in 1840 destroyed 40 downtown buildings, plans were set in motion for a large, stone building. It was built as a wing of the newly constructed City Hall, completed in 1844. The ground floor was occupied by farmers who raised cattle, hogs and sheep, while “hucksters” sold their goods on the lower floor. Today the term huckster has a negative connotation, but in the middle of the 19th century, huckster was a neutral term denoting a middleman. The hucksters did not produce agricultural goods themselves; rather, they bought wholesale and sold retail, usually at the Kingston Public Market but sometimes by going door to door.[3] Credit: History of the Kingston Public Market For local residents, the market was a good place to purchase meats; for the farmers, it was a vital source of income. As more farmers turned to raising hogs, a new problem emerged: there was too much pork to be absorbed by local families. The initial solution was to sell the surplus to the military garrison but there was still too much supply. By the middle of the 19th century, local farmers began to rely on another middleman: merchants who would ship salt pork in barrels to Montreal. Trade was so lucrative that one Kingstonian, Andrew McLean, set up his own business in about 1849 to sell salt pork. His pork-packing business was located at 272-280 Ontario Street. In addition to selling pork, the company also had a thriving business in wholesale groceries. An indication of the company’s size was the fact that it employed two travelling salesmen.[4] Barrels of salt porkCredit: Flickr/Bill Kramme [1] “Horse power” by Alvin Armstrong, Whig Standard History Series, Part 157. This was an article in Armstrong’s year-long series in 1973, marking 300 years since the founding of Fort Frontenac. [2] “Settlers arrive” by Alvin Armstrong, Whig Standard History Series, Part 27, 1973. [3] “The shambles” by Alvin Armstrong. Whig Standard History Series, Part 155, 1973. [4] “Export trade” by Alvin Armstrong. Whig Standard History Series, Part 160, 1973. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Cover photo: The Springer family setting off to church from their farm near Cloyne. Credit: Cloyne and District Historical Society, People Album Blog by Helen Cutts, Writer in residence, Kingston Association of Museums

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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