What do you do when you have a passion for history that knows no bounds? Open a museum of course!
That’s exactly what Lanark County farmer, politician and antique collector, Bill Dobson, did more than 30 years ago, and today Montague Farm Museum holds Dobson’s private antique collection, and is a destination worth exploring for antique lovers, history buffs or even just the mildly curious.
Montague Farm Museum is no ordinary museum; it’s an historical archive of the journey agriculture has taken from the 1800s to today, and holds the best-of-the-best of antique farming tools, implements and paraphernalia.
Housed in heritage barns situated on picturesque acreage, inside visitors will find antiques focused on food and agriculture and hand-made artifacts and textiles from the 1800 and 1900s. From early fishing to early farming in the Ottawa Valley, Montague Farm Museum has a prime collection that highlights how far agriculture has come!
It was in 1967 during Canada’s Centennial year that Dobson’s passion for antiques was ignited, out of an interest in preserving Canadian artifacts, and specifically the Ottawa Valley’s material heritage that he felt was rapidly being lost. A farmer for most of his life, turning to agricultural history was natural and once he got started, he found he had kindled a passion for antiques and history for which there is no end in sight.
Inside Montague Farm Museum, visitors are invited to explore the world of agriculture, discover the uses for rare tools and implements, and learn how farm products were made in a world before electricity. The more than 1,000 artifacts found in the museum include items from the trades of the 1800s and 1900s, including carpentry, blacksmithing, coopers, spinning, weaving, quilting and farming.
Two of Dobson’s rarest pieces are real conversation starters: An 1860s dowsing rod, an important tool that would have helped settlers located water on an early homestead, and a horse-shaped pierced-tin trade sign from a horse-stable in Perth. Visitors will find these and other rare items in the museum, and after a tour will walk away with little known information about agriculture and trades throughout Lanark County and Canadian history.
Located in scenic Montague Township, Lanark County, Montague Farm Museum is in a prime location, only minutes from Ottawa, and in a region with a lengthy agricultural heritage that still exists to this day. A drive down the rural roads of Lanark County reveals working farms that don’t look much different than they would have more than 100 years ago!
Montague Farm Museum is a busy spot; you can combine your visit into a true cultural adventure and explore artisanal sheep cheese production at Milkhouse Farm & Dairy, located right next door and run by Dobson’s daughter and son-in-law. You can also visit Lynda Hynes Pottery Studio, only steps from the museum!
Located at 1105 Matheson Rd., the museum is open by appointment only for group tours. To schedule an appointment and arrange a visit, please call Dobson directly at 613-283-5270.