A Fort Frances Tour - Discover the History
The Heritage Map guides you through community history and is available at the Fort Frances Museum.
From the eastern shores of the Rainy Lake Causeway, the map guides you through Point Park, the LaVerendrye Parkway (including the Sorting Gap), Downtown Fort Frances, and all the way into the west end. Find out where the Ontario Heritage Foundation plaques are and spend some time on the LaVerendrye Parkway where heritage panels tell the history of the LaVerendrye Parkway, the Sorting Gap, boating excursions, and fishing along the river.
Fort Frances Museum & Cultural Centre
Behind the scenes, many things happen to promote and preserve our community heritage. The museum works under standards established by the Ministry of Culture. These include Governance, Finance, Collections, Exhibition, Interpretation and Education, Research, Conservation, Physical Plant, Community and Human Resources, and are reviewed yearly to ensure compliance.
Governed by the Town of Fort Frances, a Museum Advisory Committee composed of Debbie Ballard, Robert Schulz, Mary Hickling, Caren Fagerdahl, and Jim Curr provide input. Financed by the Town of Fort Frances, the museum is eligible for an operating grant from the province to help with overhead costs. In addition the museum applies for student grants and special occasion project funds as they become available and meet our specific needs. Fundraising and Museum Memberships are also an increasingly important part of the community’s commitment to the museum.
The Museum's collection of artifacts, archival documents, and photographs are received through donations from our community members and represent the history and heritage of our area. The museum documents each donation and places it in storage in a manner that will properly preserve its condition. Local exhibitions, incorporating samples from our collection, reflect our history, culture and the growth of our community, with a mandate for preserving our past and educating our young. Traveling exhibitions have broader themes, but generally relate to history, culture and art.
The Museum continues to fine-tune the Back-Pack program, reworking activities to address two age groups; 4-6 year olds and 7-11. The backpacks - suitable for individual use or sharing - feature curriculum related subject material around First Nations, early settlers, logging, community, and fur trade themes. We also plan children's activities around current exhibits to make the visitor experience more enjoyable for all age groups.
The Museum continues to improve its research area. Our library covers many local topics, from early rock formations to history of the fur trade and our cultural diversity. Volunteers are working at compiling an alphabetic listing of area obituaries that is availabe to the public. We continue to work toward having our 100-year-old newspaper collection photographed and on line. Whether you are a genealogist in search of family information, or a historian compiling photographs and archival documentation for academic research, museum staff can help you get started.
Community partnerships are important in developing the museum’s exhibits, events and programming. In recent years, we have worked with two important ethnic groups – our local Ukrainian community and our Métis elders – to document their part in the founding of our area and highlight their contributions in the development of our community.
We continue to explore opportunities to develop a Borderland Walking Tour that we hope will expand to include every part of Town. This will involve putting QR codes (quick response codes) in business windows or on the outside of buildings that, when uploaded into smart phone devices, can access historical photos or relevant information. It will allow anyone to see what the building looked like over time, what purpose it once served and give a brief description of what the business sells today. It means that visitors to our community can walk backwards through time, collecting trivia as they go. They will see historic buildings that are no more or have seen a face lift. They will know where the Hudson's Bay Company post once stood, where our first hospital once operated and where children once attended school. Anyone can be a tourguide for visiting friends and family, and our community will be open for a tour any time of the day, summer and winter.
Heritage and Community Heritage - Celebrating the Past to Ensure the Future. Heritage is viewed as playing an important role in the sustainability of our communities. Heritage Tourism has been identified as an opportunity to celebrate and benefit from local heritage while sharing it with others. Whether participation in a cultural activity, enjoying the natural environment or viewing our material culture, we seek to provide an experience that authentically represents the stories of our community. The Fort Frances Museum has strived to meet this mandate as a vibrant part of the community for over 25 years. Located in the heart of down town, the museum building itself reflects the built heritage of the community of Fort Frances.
The Fort Frances Museum completed Phase I of the Town of Fort Frances Heritage Tourism Project in 2007 with a newly refurbished museum. Phase II included moving the Lookout Tower and Logging Tug Hallett to the marina, adding wayfinding banners, signage and interpretive panels in key locations along the waterfront. The focus has been our heritage, a great reason to positively promote our beautiful community to others. We will continue to strive for excellence moving forward.