In 1985, with the closing of the Winnipegosis CN Station, a committee was struck to turn this historic building (built 1897) into a community museum. Its grand opening was held in 1990 during the Village of Winnipegosis 75th Anniversary celebration. The museum committee collected and set up a number of displays that told the story of the development of this area beginning with the Indigenous people and then, the later European influence on this area. Displays contain examples of the major industries; lumbering, fishing, and agriculture as well as examples of the lifestyles of both the Indigenous people and later settlers.
All displays also highlight the visual arts of both Indigenous (Birch bark biting, basket making, pottery, arrowheads, beading, leather work, etc.) and European (paintings, clothing, crafts, carvings, knitting, embroidery work, religious icons, etc.) people.
The WHS belongs to the Association of Manitoba Museums and seeks to put best museum practices into place. A Statement of Purpose has been drawn up and policies for Collection, Deaccession, Exhibition, Workplace Health and Safety, Care of Collection and Preventative Conservation, and Education are written. A Code of Ethics and Mission, Vision, and Values Statements were prepared as well as a Manual for Collections Management. All of these are reviewed annually and presented by the board of the WHS at the local AGM.
Statement of Purpose:
The Winnipegosis Historical Society has been created to collect, preserve, study, and interpret the human and natural history of Winnipegosis and district for the greater public good and use of future generations. To do this the WHS will endeavour to collect artifacts that relate the story of the development of Winnipegosis and surrounding area. The collections will reflect the lifestyles of the early Indigenous People and later settlers as well as preserve the tools, clothing, and documentation of the varied occupations of the people of this area. The collections will be used for public display and education, as well as contain archival collections for study.
Code of Ethics
The WHS codes states that with respect to:
The museum community must strive to achieve the highest attainable standards for the collections within its care. It shall follow policies, which are accepted within the profession, respecting acquisition and disposal of items pertaining to the museum, as well as avoid misuse and illegal activity.
Its Volunteers and/or Employees
The museum owes its volunteers and/or paid staff respect for their knowledge and sufficient support to carry out their assigned responsibilities, as well as support each individual’s right to upgrade their skills. At no time should either a volunteer or employee be required to perform tasks which would place that individual in a position of compromise or likewise jeopardize the credibility of the museum.
The museum owes the public reasonable access and service according to its policies and accepted practices. In the presentation of exhibition material the museum is expected to be honest and objective.
Our mission is to maintain and promote the history, stories and community spirit of Winnipegosis, the Mossey River Municipality and surrounding areas.
Our vision is that the Winnipegosis Historical Society creates vibrant centres of knowledge about the history of the Village of Winnipegosis, the Mossey River Municipality and surrounding areas.
Respect for individual and community diversity.
Integrity of research and communications.
Openness to new ideas and knowledge exchange.
Inclusiveness (to engage the public in meaningful dialogue).
Responsible stewardship (public trust).
Prudent management and use of our institutional assets.
Commitment to social responsibility.
Respect for our environment.
Two members of the WHS board completed the Certificate in Museum Practices courses enabling them to better serve as volunteer curators.
On August 10th, 2009 the Winnipegosis Historical Society Inc. became a non-for-profit corporation.
A second museum site, the Medd House Museum (former home and office of one of our first doctors, built 1900) was donated to the Winnipegosis Village in 2010 with its original furnishings. The Winnipegosis Historical Society has undertaken the care, development and showing of this second site as well.
In 2011 the Winnipegosis Historical Society began a $300,000 project to restore the former CN Station by lifting the building and creating a new foundation. It was reopened to the public in 2015 at the Winnipegosis 100th Anniversary Celebration.
In 2019 a two stage $35,000 restoration of the Medd House Museum was completed. The foundation under the kitchen was replaced, a new kitchen floor was added, porch windows added, all original windows were repaired and the siding replaced.
The Winnipegosis Museum (former CN Station) has 13 rooms, housing over 90 displays. The Medd House Museum has 11 rooms with displays of the original 1914 furnishings of the home, the doctor’s office and an area dedicated to the past health services available in this area. The Medd House Museum also has a historical garden.
Both sites contain many examples of local art work and crafts.
Every year the Winnipegosis Historical Society takes part in a number of diverse cultural celebrations from Indigenous Day in June, Canada Day and Mossey River Days in July, as well as events such as Country Fest, Agricultural Displays, Remembrance Day services and a local Market Fest. (When not under pandemic restrictions.)
The WHS has brought in craft displays, agricultural demonstrations, Indigenous elders, and collected stories, memories and photos from the local senior population. It has undertaken to put up historical displays in schools, the Care Home, and the Seniors Centre as well as at various events. A committee of WHS volunteers organizes the yearly Remembrance Day Program for the community.
In 2020 in partnership with the local Little Muddy Water Metis group, the WHS purchased and erected a tipi on the Winnipegosis Museum grounds.
The WHS works in partnership with the Municipality of Mossey River, the local Winnipegosis Thrift Store, local church groups, the New Horizons Senior Centre, the Winnipegosis and District Health Centre, the Winnipegosis Elementary School, the Winnipegosis Collegiate and all local businesses.
Every summer, students are employed to help maintain the buildings and grounds, give tours and conduct research.
To maintain, operate and restore these two museums, fundraising remains an ongoing process for the board and other WHS volunteers. Yard sales, pie sales, barbecue sales, working at various events, seeking business and personal donations, and researching and applying for grants, and giving tours are just some of the ways the WHS is able to fund and sustain the museums. The pandemic restrictions have meant that most of our local fundraisers in 2020 and 2021 have been cancelled.