Bytown Museum: A Century of Community – Artefact Feature

On February 3, 2017, we launched our newest exhibition, Bytown Museum: A Century of Community, celebrating our 100th anniversary year. Featuring 100 eclectic, unique and beautiful works from our primary artefact collection, A Century of Community tells the story of Bytown and Ottawa, its people and its evolution from lumber town to the capital of Canada and beyond.


This month we are shining the spotlight on two key photographs on display in the exhibition; those of the first so-called “loans” exhibitions of the Women’s Canadian Historical Society of Ottawa, forerunners and founders of the Bytown Museum in 1917.

P427_001_Bytown_WEB     P2726_001_Bytown_WEB

“First Loan Exhibition, Women’s Historical Society of Ottawa,” 1899, photograph: silver gelatin, Bytown Museum, P427 and 2726.

Between May 29 and June 3, 1899 the members of the Women’s Canadian Historical Society of Ottawa (WCHSO) put on an exhibition featuring objects of significance to Ottawa’s history. Their main objective was to further Canadians’ interest and knowledge about the formation of Bytown and Ottawa. The exhibition was held in a temporary space on Sparks Street and the objects featured in the exhibition were loaned by WCHSO members as well as members of the public.

The WCHSO held several more loan exhibitions following the success of the first one, and in time, these exhibitions led them to begin their own collection. Many objects featured in temporary and loan exhibitions were eventually donated to the Bytown Historical Museum after its founding in 1917, and some, like Colonel By’s armchair and Bytown’s first letterbox, are once again featured at the Museum.

Bytown Museum: A Century of Community runs from February 3rd, 2017 through to February 18, 2018. Come celebrate 100 years of YOUR COMMUNITY MUSEUM!