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Family Photos: The Harris’ Abroad

Through 2017, Eldon House Second Floor

120 years ago the Harris Family of Eldon House went on an 11-month “world tour” traveling through Japan, China, Burma, India, Egypt, Palestine, into Europe and England. Not only did they bring back innumerable of souvenir’s which give Eldon House it’s unique character, they also returned with hundreds of photographs.  This exhibit aims to illustrate the locations explored on the family’s “Grand Tour” while also focusing on “Canadian’s Abroad” at the end of the Victorian Era.

At the Front: Teddy Harris and the Great War

February through July 2017, Eldon House Second Floor

The third exhibition in a series of four commemorating the life of Edward Montgomery (“Teddy”) Harris, this installment brings participants to the front lines of World War I following Teddy during his years as a Major in the Canadian Service Corps. Drawing on archival materials, this exhibition illustrates the experience of a Londoner overseas at the front, in hospital and at the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

The Home Front

February through June 2017, Eldon House Interpretive Centre

Life for those on the home front was overshadowed by the activities happening overseas and the response of many of those left behind was to aid the war effort.   This exhibition explores aspects of life at “home” during the First World War, from letter writing to victory gardens to women in the workplace. Using artifacts from the Museum’s collection, excerpts from Harris Family letters and diaries as well as historical visual images, participants will experience how life on the home front affected Canadians during and after the war.

Genealogical Journey: Mapping Family History

March through July 2017, Eldon House Interpretive Centre

As part of the museum’s commemoration of Confederation Eldon House will be hosting several genealogical workshops and speakers for those interested in discovering their own family histories. The story of the Harris Family has, for the 57 year history of the museum, has been researched and interpreted. The process of genealogical research and its exciting discoveries is the subject of this mini-exhibit.

The Harris Family Songbook: Pre-Confederation Music

July through December 2017

Eldon House holds a sheet music collection of over 40 hand-inscribed songs from the 1830s to the 1850s which has been recently digitized, allowing the museum to explore the pieces with greater attention. Many of the songs are “parlour music” intended for voice and keyboard and performed by amateurs, including patriotic selections, religious songs, and pieces written for the musical stage. What makes this collection so interesting today is the lack of truly “Canadian” music that speaks of the lives of those dwelling in the region prior to 1867. The popular European and American songs in the pre-confederation collection would soon be replaced by “Canadian” tunes and can be seen as the country’s first instance of “Can-Con.”

One Hundred and Fifty Words

August 2017 through January 2018, Eldon House Second Floor

This exhibition presents a selection of 150 words on the topic of Confederation drawn from the thousands of documents in the Harris Family Archives. Ranging from the early attempts of union in the colony in 1839 to outside pressure to separate from the crown, the Harris family correspondence elaborates on how it felt to live in the time of Confederation. Using Harris Family primary documents alongside national media publications and visual elements, artifacts from the Eldon House Collection will be presented to essentialize the forces that led to Confederation.

Maurice Portman: Man of Mystery

August-December 2017, Eldon House Interpretive Centre

Maurice Portman married Helen Harris of Eldon House in the late 1850s. He was the son of an English peer and involved in politics. Recent archive research suggests that he may have also been involved in the secret service during the American Civil War – but for whom is still being determined! This exhibit details the mysterious life of Maurice Portman while also exploring Canadian’s untold involvement in the American Civil War.

Christmas Past

December, Eldon House Second Floor

Seasonal family heirlooms, Christmas Cards and accompanying quotations from the Harris family diaries bring Victorian Christmas traditions to life.