Jeff Willmore

Interpretive historic Village as cultural hot-spot, is it true? Well, if you are involved in community theatre locally, you know it’s true.

At Fanshawe Pioneer Village theatre operates on two levels. It can be argued that a visit to the Village is a theatrical experience in itself, in many ways we ‘tread the boards’ every day. The Village is our stage and costumed interpreters and educational staff play out the story of this region’s history. As our visitors enter any staffed building an interpreter will pass on the story of that building with an oral history and an interpretive activity. On special weekend events small pantomimes are often enacted involving a number of costumed staff to illustrate historical events or celebrate important dates.

Summer Theatre at Fanshawe Pioneer Village
Summer Theatre at Fanshawe Pioneer Village featuring the cast of the play Choose But Choose Wisely by Jason Rip. This year Fanshawe Pioneer Village is proud to partner with AlvegoRoot to offer two new plays, you can check them out here.

On top of this daily culture of educational storytelling, at least three times a season visitors can experience community theatre within venues on site or using the whole site to deliver plays ‘plein air’. In July you can experience a summer theatre production in one of our barns, and in the fall...

Sheila Johnson

Each winter, the permanent staff take on a special project to make things easier for the coming season. My project this past year was the organization of the costume collection, stored on the second floor of Denfield General Store. Fashion history has always been a passion of mine and my lecture: Victorian Secrets: A History of Women’s Undergarments from 1830 to 1900 has been presented throughout the City of London and Middlesex County.

The first step in the organization of this immense collection was to improve the room it was stored in. Jack Glassman and John Perrin kindly agreed to work on the second floor of Denfield General Store during January and February. They happily spent those cold winter months repaired the drywall, taping, mudding and painting the stairwell and stair landing. While this was underway, Kelly Mercer volunteered to help organize the sewing supplies stored in a separate room just off the stair landing. We scrubbed the room down, and Kelly took care of the rest. She organized all the fabric by type and pattern, rehoused it in clear containers and labeled them. She sorted and organized all the sewing notions and stored them in labeled drawers including a huge button collection!

When Jack and John finished the upper landing, Kelly and I moved the costumes collection into this new space. This project took Kelly and I most of...

Jeff Willmore

It is a shoulder season right now for your maintenance department; we have the site fairly well packed up for the season and programming is not overly demanding. These are the times we can kick to the surface and catch a breath. This is when I spend some time ignoring the nuts and bolts issues and turn to the Health and Safety file for some updating and preparation.

As it turns out, just before I started this column we had an emergency preparedness drill. I set these things up, usually with a great talent for the most inconvenient timing, at regular intervals throughout the year. Like most things organized by your somewhat bumbling maintenance manager, our drills are a little ragged. However, through some miracle, they are effective and a very important part of the Health and Safety program in this workplace. Let me tell you how these things usually go.

We do at least four drills a year, concentrating on our busy summer months when we have the most staff and visitors, and a higher chance of incident. The winter drill performed at the time of this scratching, concentrates on responding when staffing is at low ebb and weather and communications can be a challenge. I would like to say, dear reader that these drills go like clockwork, but I am sure you know this organization too well to...