OFFICIAL OPENING OF A.I. NEILSON STORE MUSEUM BUILDING
From the Amherst Island Beacon November 2004 by Hugh Jenney
Hugh Jenney welcomed an enthusiastic crowd of just under one hundred supporters Saturday, October 9, 2004 to the official opening of the building. The sun was shining as he said, “Bruce Caughey had the idea—Save our Island Artifacts.” Our Island children know who they are because they know where they came from. This window into the past is a tribute to the people who came from Ireland, England, Scotland, Holland, and the US to live, work, laugh and die here. New and old Island families have worked to make what you see today possible.
Peter Trueman developed the organization—Amherst Island Men’s Society.
David Brady spent many long hours working on both the Heritage & Trillium Grants. Thanks to help from André Scheinman he was able to obtain a $60,000 Trillium grant which helped restore our heritage designated building.
Our Board of Directors made it happen. Don Pepper was on hand to document the progress as our site manager. Paul Lauret is our secretary and financial advisor. John Wright is our CFO and retired Alcan chief chemist who developed the old wood preservative epoxy which will keep our building safe for many years to come. Bruce Burnett and his Exhibit Committee developed these displays. Alan Kidd organized the Grand Opening. Alan Glenn and Keith Miller worked on the renovations as did many volunteers such as Doug Martin who also supplied the washroom flooring. Ross Haines did all the signage. Eleanor Trueman is our liaison with the Weasel & Easel.
Mr. Jenney’s recognition remarks were followed by a sustained round of applause. (I told you the crowd was enthusiastic!)
Alan Kidd introduced Leona Dombrowsky, MPP who unveiled the Trillium plaque. She said that the Ontario Trillium Foundation receives about one hundred million dollars per year from lotteries and gaming and she was pleased that we received our grant.
Barbara Snyder representing the Ontario Trillium Foundation (she is also on the Loyalist Heritage Committee) said we had certainly come a long way since her first meeting at the Victoria Hall years ago. Ms. Snyder advised us that our county receives about $300,000 from the OTF and she encouraged us to ask for more money for the exhibits.
Eleanor Trueman brought greetings and thanks for all our help with developing the new and improved Weael & Easel.
Duncan Ashley concluded the formal presentation by thanking Diane Pearce for advising our Loyalist Council of the opportunity to purchase the building and dock for such a reasonable price. He praised Reeve Paul Gilmore who convinced the Loyalist Council to spend the $130,000 for the old store and dock. He went on to say how pleased he was that the MV Amherst Islander’s wheel, bell and logs have found a home with us. He finished his remarks by saying how humbled he is when a community of volunteers comes together to produce such a beautiful working symbol of our Amherst Island Community.
We then went into the museum to enjoy refreshments supplied by the Neilson Store Museum and Cultural Centre Inc. women.
Many thanks to all the volunteers who made this day such a success.