Preserving and Promoting local history for the former Rideau Township
Log Fence

At this point of the October meeting, those in the audience who came in costume were invited to another informal promenade, and to share details about their outfits, which they did. For example, Marguerite Rogers told us her matching cap, cape and skirt were hand-sewn by Karen Barnett. Marguerite inherited the outfit from the late Shelia Deane, who wore it as a volunteer with the Canadian Guide Dogs, during Dickinson Day events of past years.

  Some RTHS Members

After explaining the thinking behind the activities, the rest of Killin's presentation revisited the events themselves, particularly the grand finale, Manotick Saturday Night at Harmony Hall. As reported in last month's newsletter, that event came off very smoothly and a grand time was had by all.

Killins offered proof of a rollicking party with photos taken by her niece, Rachel Ongaro. Some candid shots, along with formal portraits taken at the event, should be available for distribution at some future date. (Watch this newsletter for details.)  

After the success of Manotick Saturday Night, the next questions seem to run towards “what next?” And “when?” Well, there are various schools of thought on that, including the show business adage: "Always leave them wanting more".  

In fact, this particular group needs a breather and will likely stand down for winter. But the take-away lesson seems to be that combining imagination with collaboration (and a strong sense of fun) makes many things possible.  

Some of the models

What heritage or community-focused events do we want to see next? And will you be part of making them happen?

The next occasion for merriment will be our annual Christmas pot-luck, graciously organized by Ann Cronin. Helpers are most welcome to contact her and keep the good spirit alive.  

RTHS member and Manotick resident Katherine Killins spoke at the October meeting, re-capping what might be called the society's extra-curricular anniversary activities for 2009.  

Killins began by expressing her appreciation for what organizations like RTHS already provide, along with the additional potential they offer. She continued by detailing some of her own wide-ranging interests in heritage activities.  

Katherine Killins

 

Killins grew up exploring the back roads and history of the Niagara region. She wasn't especially drawn to the facts, figures and dates of history. Rather, her interests encompassed the broader tapestry of real life: the homes, the lifestyles, the heritage and the activities of the ordinary people who settled the region, folk history, if you will.  

She and her husband Brian bought an old stone house in a mill town near Hamilton. The young family went went to work restoring it, learning about historic paint, decor and customs. (They were successful enough for the house to be featured in magazines, the ones that somehow make home restoration look deceptively easy!)

In time, Killins became a historical interpreter at Dundurn Castle. While there, she developed interpretive programs for children aimed at sparking deeper appreciation for area history. She also trained staff, all the while maintaining an emphasis on making heritage feel fun and alive.

Additional career experience as an event coordinator added to her ability to juggle multiple tasks while creating festive atmospheres. (And stone house restoration must be addictive, since she and Brian are at it again with a fine old specimen near the town of Delta.)  

When Manotick 150th organizers sought ideas for this year's festivities, Killins thought there ought to be activities that gave participants and observers a sense of walking in the shoes, houses and gardens of their forbearers. She wanted to celebrate Manotick and generate community spirit, without forgetting the "fun" part!

Killins became the de facto coach, mentor and cheerleader for a core group of similarly-inspired enthusiasts.  

Once gathered, our group needed to get moving, without having a lot of resources or money. It was decided the most efficient thing to do would be to utilize what was already on hand. Many already had heritage clothing, or an interest in creating outfits that looked the part. The long-established Manotick Art Show could be a venue for a heritage display. And why not supplement the Victorian tea hosted by Knox Presbyterian Church with a fashion show of real and make-believe historical characters?  

Katherine Killins on “What They Wore”  

Article by Lucy Martin