QEMA’s initial collection, covering the era of 1830s to 1960s, reveals the evolvement of education that accompanied the introduction of public, tax-supported education as funding issues were often hotly debated between provincial and local officials. Artifacts illustrate the strong linkage of education to the skills needed by the local agricultural industry. Moreover, the learning materials in the collection reflect the needs of that era for “reading, writing and arithmetic” skills – as well as the deeply rooted religious and social values of the time. The impact on children and schools of our nation at war are featured prominently in the collection: Over the years, the children in our school system have witnessed many societal and political changes, some now forgotten and faded from memory, but nonetheless recorded in the history of QEMA’s archival collection.
From the onset of its founding, QEMA has endeavoured to capture and portray for residents, scholars and tourists, the many facets of educational practice as these practices have adjusted in response to the needs of an evolving society. At the same time, the QEMA collection not only represents the changes in education, but also the benefits of this evolution – a truly dynamic legacy.
The Museum & Archives
Development of education in Prince Edward County and, indeed, all of Ontario was influenced by social, economic, political, religious, and geographical factors. Even as we endeavour to tell the story of early education, we envision updating these trends in education up to and including present day.
Our showcases open to the general public in the Victoria Schoolhouse and the Museum and Archives building, 'show and tell' the story of education as it evolved from the early 1800s to 1966. In "Reading, 'writing and 'arithmetic", we have samples of old readers and workbooks, writing tools from quill pens to slates and chalk, to steel nib pens, math books, slide rules, geometry aids, and old exams. The Audio Visual Technology and Business Studies showcase has early projectors, a radio, a hectograph, old typewriters, an early computer, and examples of old textbooks and school radio programs. The Science display shows early equipment and sample school work. A selection of documents and photographs from our archives is showcased in our History display. Of interest to children will be our "A One-Room School Day" display with photographs of early days, old lunch pails, slates and chalk to write on, the strap, and samples of old readers and tests to try.
For information on available research opportunities, and more details about our archives, please see our Research section. For our Exhibits policy please visit our policies.