OxHS Upcoming Presentation – Wednesday, March 27, 2024 at 6:30pm!

Embro ON Scotia Mills 1916 – From the J. Gruszka Postcard Collection

Hello Everyone,

please join the Oxford Historical Society for our discussion: ‘Future of the Oxford Historical Society’

From the Pattullo Press Winter 2024 Newsletter – History of the Oxford Historical Society:

“Last year the Oxford Historical Society celebrated 125 years since its founding in 1897 by Andrew Pattullo. This year we think it is time to investigate what the future holds for our Society.

When the Historical Society was first formed, people kept items of historical nature they collected in their homes, which made it hard for the general public to access the information. Then we got a few shelves in the basement of the building at the southwest corner of Graham and Buller Steets, which at that time was the Oxford County Library. Then we moved in with the Oxford County branch of the Ontario Genealogy Society (now called Ontario Ancestors) in the building at the northwest corner of Graham and Hunter Streets, which was the Registry Officefor Oxford County. When Oxford County wanted to use that space for other purposes, they offered us space in the Governors’ House, which was being renovated and added to at that time. We spent about a year in a county building in Beachville until the renovations were completed. So in 2011 we finally moved back to Woodstock, where we shared the first floor of the Governors’ House with the Ontario Ancestors and the Oxford County Archives occupied the second floor. We thought we had finally been successful in having a place where people could easily research the history of Oxford County!

We held public meetings monthly with speakers talking about a variety of interesting historical topics at the Museum, then for a few years at the Woodstock Public Library before moving back to the Museum. We helped local authors like Doug Symons and Elaine Becker publish books. Chris Packman for many years led a committee that published questions about Oxford County history in the weekly Oxford Review, which we later published in a book called “Quizzical History”. We had a booth at the local Woodstock Fair in August and a table at the Oxford Arts show each October or November. And one of our biggest efforts was the tour of homes decorated for Christmas! Of course the pandemic put an end to that! However the Museum held one in November 2023, which some of our members assisted by staffing the homes.

When the Covid pandemic hit in March 2020, our office was closed by Oxford County to stop spreading the virus. We continued to pay rent for a space we could not access until the end of 2021. At that point we decided to transfer all the material we had collected to the Oxford Archives, so people could access it rather than have it dismantled and spread among other organizations or be returned to peoples’ homes.”

At this meeting we will discuss and explore options for the Future of the Society. Some reasons for this discussion is that we are having difficulty in finding individuals to serve on the Executive in key positions, volunteers to help with various activities like finding speakers, booth attendants, communications and other responsibilities.

The current Executive has been looking at options for our financial holdings. One option might include gifting our funds to other organizations, who would then provide funding to organizations or individuals, in accordance with the mandates of the Society.

We welcome suggestions from our members and would like to hear from all of you at our next meeting and to vote on an option (voting is restricted to paying members only).

This presentation will take place at the Woodstock Museum, NHS. Doors open at 6:30pm and the meeting will start at 6:45pm. This is a free public meeting, all are welcome to attend.

If you have an event, pictures and articles concerning the history of Oxford County that you would like published on the Society’s blog please email us at info@oxhs.ca