Every week for more than three years now, we’ve been looking at the history of Timmins through the resources of the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre. The next few weeks, we’ll explore the history of the museum itself.
The chicken-and-egg scenario has the National Exhibition Centre coming first.
Director-curator Karen Bachmann says the desire for a museum began in the 1930s. The Chamber of Commerce had a committee from the 50s to the 70s, preserving local heritage and artifacts.
Then in 1972 came a new national museum policy, establishing the exhibition centres.
“There were 22 of them that were placed across Canada, in supposedly remote areas like St. Catharines, Ontario,” Bachmann recounts. “But in any case, there were 22 of them across Canada, and Timmins was selected as one of them.”
It opened in South Porcupine in February, 1975. Bachmann says one of the first exhibits that visited included Frederick W. Schumacher’s art collection.
“And those were all old masters. So they were actually showing things like Rembrandts and Tinterettos and all those wonderful things in the context of that exhibition.”
The paintings were originals, not prints.
Next week: Adding a community museum to the exhibition centre.