Other roles where volunteers might help us. We need a greeter on the first floor to welcome people, get them to sign the guest book and keep an eye that artefacts do not leave the building.
A greeter or two outside to talk people into coming in would also help. We could use people to distribute or put up posters in the village for the special craft weekends. And of course there are some cleaning and maintenance needs if someone wishes to remain behind the scenes.
Finally, if you have a hobby or skill appropriate to the 1860 - 1930 era that you could demonstrate at one of our craft weekends, please give us a call or send an email.
Our goal is thus to provide an interesting and educational experience for our visitors. Rather than a museum with static displays we provide a live two-way exchange with our volunteer interpreters.
To do this of course we need volunteers whom we recruit through an advertising campaign in the spring of the year. Click the link on the left for information on this year's needs for volunteers.
Operation of the Dickinson House during the spring, summer, and fall seasons is a flagship project of the RTHS. It is carried out in cooperation with Watson's Mill, and Dickinson Square Heritage Management Inc. (DSHMI). Each season the House sees up to 6000 visitors, many who have chosen to visit Ottawa and have added Manotick to their itinerary.
The stories we tell go back to the beginning with the Rideau Canal c1830 and go until today. Of all the histories we can learn, local history can be the most interesting and enlightening because we are part of it. How did we get from settler to suburbanite? How did our ancestors sustain themselves? We can learn something about all this and maybe even connect to our own family history.
Tour guides in period and visitors
at the Dickinson House
Could any historical artifact be of more importance to Manotick than what is now Watson's Mill, the Dickinson House, and the Carriage Shed.
They are all popular tourist sites in the summer, bringing significant numbers of visitors to Manotick. It is important to preserve and protect these sites, and to further develop them for the benefit of both the businesses and citizens of Manotick.
Moss Kent Dickinson and Sir John A. MacDonald were colleagues in Parliament. Sir John A. visited the Dickinson House in 1887 while he was running for re-election as the Member of Parliament for Carleton. He held a large campaign rally in Mr. Dickinson's sawmill and then had dinner with the Dickinson family in their home .
George Dickinson, Moss Kent's son, also was a Member of Parliament for Carleton, winning a seat in a by-election after the 1887 election when Sir John A. chose to represent Kingston after winning in both Carleton and Kingston.
The Dickinson House is the yellow one on Dickinson Square kitty-corner from Knox Presbyterian Church and across from Watson’s Mill. Each summer between early May and early December the Rideau Township Historical Society (RTHS) provides volunteers to operate the House and conducts tours for visitors from near and far, often quite far, think Russia or Australia. So lots of interesting people come to see us, up to 6000 visitors per year..
In addition to tours of the house, the RTHS arranges a variety of activities such as heritage crafts, ice cream making on the lawns, concerts, children's games, etc. See the 2017 program for more information.
Dickinson House, Dickinson Square, and the three mills shown above are uniquely important in the history of Manotick.
As can be seen they all were there from the beginning. The mills provided a local economy. The house served as a store, telegraph office, and post office as well as a residence in the early years when the village was being established.
The Dickinson House and the RTHS
There are a number of roles for our volunteers. The majority of them will be costumed interpreters. An interpreter in our case is one who explains the history and tells the stories of the displays in the Dickinson House. We do this in period costume, the period in our case being 1870 – 1930.
Another bonus, is seeing yourself in costumes of that period. Some volunteers make or otherwise provide their own costumes. We also have a small stock of costumes to help others. Lots of assistance is available from other RTHS volunteers who can help you get the best sources of patterns and deals and even give recommendations on how you might do the whole thing for a song at Value Village.
Telephone us: Brian Earl (613) 692-2731