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Author 
Sheila Johnson

The Committee to Establish a Middlesex County Archive (CEMCA)worked with the community from 2005 to 2010 to further their objectives. They enlisted the help of a number of archivists from the surrounding Counties of Perth, Oxford and Elgin, as well as the regional archivist advisor from the Ontario Archivist Association. Members of the committee visited a number of regional Archives to explore what the requirements would be for a Middlesex Archives. The committee also explored a number of operating partnerships, including building an archive as part of the Middlesex Library System, joining with the City of London in establishing a regional archive, and building its own County Archives facility. CEMCA initiated a petition and over 1,500 people within Middlesex County signed their name in support of a Middlesex County Archive.

Fanshawe Pioneer Village has been working since 2005 to renew the capital infrastructure of this important heritage site. Since that date, $2.8 million has been raised to restore the heritage structures in the Village, enhance the endowment and construct a new building to be known as the Spriet Family Visitor Centre.

Early in 2010, Fanshawe Pioneer Village worked with the Committee to Establish a Middlesex County Archive to see if the Spriet Centre could accommodate an archive facility. Since this building will be designed for the long term care of artefact collections, the addition of an archival facility would be...

Author 
Sheila Johnson

Five Years Later…Forging a Sustainable Future for Fanshawe Pioneer Village.

This June, Fanshawe Pioneer Village will celebrate its 52nd anniversary as museum. In our ever changing world, this is a remarkable feat. As an organization, as a museum and as a charity, we have experienced many changes in the past half century, and the future hold even more changes at an accelerated pace. Let’s take a look back at our beginnings:

Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA) was established in 1947 to introduce flooding controls on the Thames River, a need clearly demonstrated after a series of floods, the most serious in this region in 1937. Dams were constructed near Woodstock, St Marys and London and accumulated farmland turned into the Pittock Conservation Area, Wildwood and Fanshawe. Plans for Fanshawe Conservation Area were initiated in 1948, after another devastating flood in 1947, and implemented shortly after 1952.

In 1955, the Department of Planning and Development (Provincial) extended the Conservation Authority’s mandate to include the preservation of historic sites and buildings “illustrating the life of the watershed during its period of development”. At the UTRCA annual meeting in 1956, the Board considered the creation of a pioneer village. This proposal was accepted by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and became one of many projects initiated by UTRCA first Superintendent, Rex Bishop. The site chosen by Bishop, with assistance from Len...

Author 
Sheila Johnson

Back from the Brink: Part I

2005 Crisis at Fanshawe Pioneer Village

Background

From December 10th, 2004 to March 7th, 2005, Fanshawe Pioneer Village in London, Ontario was once again involved in a serious financial crisis due to a reduction in funding from the City of London. This site has had a troubled decade. Withdrawal of funding to Conservation Authorities from the Provincial Government in the early 1990s resulted in the transfer of Fanshawe Pioneer Village from the direct operation of the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority to a not-for-profit organization, the London and Middlesex Heritage Museum. In the mid-1990s, the Conservation Authority withdrew core operating funding and since 1995, the Board of Fanshawe Pioneer Village has been negotiating with the City of London for its= replacement. In 1990, the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority contributed approximately $200,000.00 to the operation of Fanshawe Pioneer Village. By 1995, this funding had dropped to $20,000.00. The City of London provided $10,000.00 in operating funding beginning in 1996, and growing to $290,000.00 in 2004, however, only as one time grants. Each year the London and Middlesex Heritage Museum reapplied for operating funding and every year for the past nine years, launched a “Save the Village” campaign In December 2004, the City of London turned down a request for capital from the London and Middlesex Heritage Museum and questioned the continuation of an operating grant for...

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