PRHS Newsletter – June, 2009

Welcome to the Portland on the Rideau Historical Society Virtual Museum!

The PRHS virtual museum is a web based system to collect and preserve the history and heritage of Portland, Ontario and the nieghboring  Big Rideau Lake. We have been ably supported in this work by Dave Pye, a valuable volunteer and experienced website designer and search engine marketing consultant.

The PRHS virtual museum is a community space where we can place archives and photographs of local history. We have found that there is a wealth of material available and it will be a real but worthwhile challenge to gather it all up, convert it to an electronic medium and then posting it to the virtual museum website.

Previously others have gone before us to collect Portland’s history and should be acknowledged including Mrs. Scoville in the 1950’s, a Portland Historical Society in the 1920’s and various publications such as My Four Walls by Diane Haskins and Grindstone Island. Several more recent publications by Ed Beebee, Ken Watson, Doug Bond and others have in part also documented the heritage of our area. We will draw heavily whenever we can [with permission] from existing sources.

On the right side of the opening page is a site map which lists various file categories (pages) where the PRHS  can file documents, photographs and write ups as we obtain them. We have started small and put material in just a few areas, partly for example and partly for content. Please recognize that this is the early stages of a work in progress.

You will see for instance that there is an area called About PRHS and that this contains various documents and reports about the general business of the Society such as the AGM minutes, the Constitution, and a List of Officers and Directors etc.

But the really interesting categories are under the Portland History section. We are attempting to build a categorizing system where almost everything historical can be placed in some manner or other and readily retrieved. To illustrate how the categories under History might look we have started to fill in a few files. For instance under Cemeteries a local burial site is recorded and under Events a local airplane crash is documented. Under People Admiral Kingsmill, founder of the Royal Canadian Navy, and a long time resident of Grindstone Island is commemorated, and under Village of Portland we have provided an example of a century home [22 Perth Street] whose history has just recently been researched. There is also a place for Family Histories wherein we hope local families will contribute to extensively. The virtual museum will eventually hold a similar file for most of the older homes in town and cottages on the lake as we get to them. Much additional information will also be added from My Four Walls by PRHS Director Diane Haskins and other publications. Also, watch our banner page masthead photos. One of these will regularly change  to show historic photographs of the area.

It is a huge job to develop electronic files on the heritage of the community. We have only made a miniscule dent in the task at the time of launching this virtual museum. You will note many blank pages yet to be filled and others that need to be created. We hope you will join the PRHS to help keep up the work on this daunting task.  Currently, you can help most by becoming a member and unearthing historical information for a building or house or event or person that you happen to know about and sharing it with us. Also please look at the Request for Info category….maybe you can help solve some of the historical puzzles mentioned and there will be many more to come as we proceed.

The Society has access to a scanner and hopes to borrow historical documents and photographs to make electronic copies and then return the originals to the owners. Once electronically copied we can share them with all the community through the virtual museum.

The website has been designed to accommodate advertising to help keep the PRHS and the website financially sound. In the near future we will begin to canvass local businesses and organizations to take out advertisements on the site that can then link to their own web based information sites.

We need your membership in the PRHS to continue this good work. Please go to the membership page and join the PRHS.  Without these financial resources and your evident interest the Society cannot function. 2009 membership fees are $10 for one year and $100 for fifteen years.

Thank you for taking the time to read this Introduction.  Please send us comments on the developing website and become a member.

Thank you,

Buzz Boles, Chair

2009 officers and directors: Shirley Wimperis (Secretary), Jill Turnbull (treasurer), Rick Long (Vice-chair), John Bossert, Diane Haskins, Christine Row, and Ian Johnston (directors).

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