Community Waterfront Heritage Centre (CWHC)
Celebrating the Marine, Rail and Industrial Heritage of Owen Sound, Ontario
Collecting Stories, Connecting Minds
We’re happy to announce that we are starting a new project supported by a grant from Community Foundation Grey Bruce. Our “Collecting Stories and Connecting Minds” project is looking to collect memories and oral histories from locals who remember the days of the railways, the busy harbour, and more in Owen Sound.
It’s common to see black and white photos and think that it shows the distant past, but many people still remember the days of passenger trains and cruises to Manitoulin Island. By collecting these stories, we hope to foster connection between those who remember these parts of local history, and those who never had the chance to experience it.
This project was made possible by a grant from Community Foundation Grey Bruce.
What Are We Collecting?
We are collecting stories and memories about the three subjects that the CWHC focuses on: the marine, rail, and industrial history of Owen Sound and the surrounding areas. Did you work for one of the railways? What about one of the manufacturers that used to operate in town like the Kennedy Foundry? Maybe you just want to share a particularly noteworthy story from a trip on one of the Tobermory-Manitoulin Island ferries. If you have stories, we want to hear them. Most importantly:
Don’t sell yourself short!
If you’re worried that you don’t have anything interesting to say, just remember that we want to show how life has changed, and your stories could mean a lot to someone who doesn’t remember the same things you do. Even something like seeing train cars crossing the rail bridge could be of interest to someone who has never experienced it before!
How Will We Use the Oral Histories?
Our main use of the oral histories collected in the next year will be to create a new exhibit for the 2024 season. This exhibit will feature an interactive display where visitors can interact with the stories that have been recorded by members of the community.
After the exhibit ends, the oral histories will be saved as part of the museum’s collection where they will continue to aid researchers and exhibits for years to come.
How Can I Participate?
If you or someone you know is interested in sharing memories with us, reach out by calling 519-371-3333 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll set up a time when we can meet up and give you the chance to share your stories for us to record. You will get to choose how your contributions are used, so if you want us to use it however we see fit, that’s great, but if you want to put some restrictions on it, that’s fine too. Maybe you only want us to use audio, or we can use video in the museum but not upload it online. You maintain complete control, even if you want to record yourself for posterity but not have it available to the public at all!
If being recorded has you worried, we are happy to accept written histories and memories. While we are focusing on “oral” histories, our goal is to get as many memories preserved as possible. If you would be more comfortable giving a written account than a spoken one, we encourage you to go that route!