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  • Norfolk Farms

Cantelon Captures Norfolk County at WHAM

Once a pickling factory now home to one of Norfolk County’s favourite tourist stops WHAM – the Waterford Heritage and Agricultural Museum has seen many changes over the years.

Cockshutt display
Cockshutt display

While Covid has forced some restrictions on the Museum, Curator James Christison and his Assistant Curator Angela Ferreira continue to work on presenting informative, creative and interesting displays depicting the history of Waterford and area thru the decades.

Christison has been at the Museum for 11 years with the last six of those as Curator. Located on Nichol St., Waterford it began as a pickling factory and has evolved over the years to so much more. While some of the exhibits change from time to time there are some permanent fixtures. WHAM is partnered with the Canadian Industrial Heritage Center in Brantford and features several pieces of Cockshutt equipment. Brantford was home to Cockshutt and WHAM has a large collection on display. “We’ve switched things up a bit and we’re gearing up for a new exhibit” adds Christison. Also, part of their collection and a permanent exhibit is a tribute to the building’s original use – a pickling factory.

A large exhibition for all Norfolk County museums features a history of William Edgar Cantelon’s agricultural pictures. Cantelon was a well-known local artist who was born and educated in the Streetsville area and started painting at a young age. He studied art in Chicago for a while then soon found his way here to Norfolk County where he moved to a farm on St. John’s Road in Woodhouse Township. Much of his time, however, was spent in his Simcoe studio located on the upper storey of 40 Norfolk St. South.

Cantelon was always interested in our local history and was a Life Member of the Norfolk Historical Society. His collection of art work dating from 1890 to 1950 included more than 300 paintings depicting portraits and scenes almost exclusively associated with Norfolk County. All museums across Norfolk will feature Cantelon’s works and are currently working on a hard cover, full colour coffee table book. Christison describes it as “quite a period of documentation” and will be available for sale at our County Museums.

Tribute to the pickle factory
Tribute to the pickle factory

Another of the featured exhibits at WHAM is ‘A Crafted Heritage of Cabinet Makers in Norfolk County’. ”We have an abundance of great lumber locally and you can see some of the collections that are on loan to us. Barber Furniture is one of the featured makers. The Barber Furniture Factory and showroom was on Main St., at one time across from the Waterford Community Church where the empty lot is I believe. I know they had a couple of fires over the years but they always stayed on Main St.” adds Christison.

“We’re also gearing up here at the Museum for a history of barns in Waterford and Townsend Township. We’ve been working on this for quite a while and taking pictures in. More announcements will follow and will be on our website.” adds Christison

While Covid restrictions have presented some challenges, WHAM is working their way through it.” We tried our best to be open this past summer and will be back open when restrictions allow. The Museum is quite large and open to allow for social distancing, When the time comes to reopen you can drop in or call to book an appointment time” states Christison. Hours will be Thursday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm.

Great gift shop
Great gift shop

Christison would like to remind readers that they can go online to their website to place their nomination for the next recipients of the Norfolk County Agricultural Hall of Fame awards. There you can print and fill out a hard copy of the nomination form and submit it by the March 25, 2022 deadline.

The Museum is always appreciative of any donations whether Corporate or private and if you would like to become involved with WHAM on a more personal level be sure to contact them at 519-443-4211. They or any of the other great Museums here in Norfolk County are always looking for volunteers and appreciate any time you can give to keeping these facilities going. 


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