“The Goulbourn Township Historical Society was formed because of a grass roots movement among residents of the township who wanted to preserve our heritage which they felt was threatened by a quickly changing world….” Marion Scott, first President of the GTHS.
The Society was established in 1977 and its first step was to foster research into the Township’s history. To that end, members spent hundreds of hours collecting both secondary and primary source documents and copying this written material to ensure that the written record would be preserved. Pictures were also collected and copied. A partnership with the Richmond Branch of the Goulbourn Library developed whereby it provided space for the Society’s collection and Goulbourn Township Council provided funding. The library board added to the resources available by acquiring a strong local history collection and free open access was provided to all community members.
In 1978 the GTHS combined with a Richmond Senior Citizens group to apply for a New Horizons Grant and provided local citizens with the tools they needed to do family and community research within their own communities. The Society purchased copies of maps and documents as well as microfilm of the Canadian Census and bought equipment such as a microfilm reader, a reel-to-reel recorder and a cassette recorder. These were used by members to tape seniors’ reminiscences. Members with photography skills toured the township photographing old buildings, fences and other points of interest.
Books, pamphlets, and a colouring book were published and displays and walking tours organized.
One group of members interested in the social aspects of the 19th century, held reenactments of dinner parties and dances. Another group, interested in collecting examples of our material culture, wanted to form a museum.
In 1986 the Society was legally incorporated as a non-profit organization. In 1989 a museum was set up and opened in 1990 when the Goulbourn Township Town Council offered the Historical Society free use of the former township hall built in 1873. The Historical Society became a designated Charitable Institution in 1995.
The museum was the public face of the Historical Society until December 2010 when by mutual agreement, it incorporated itself and became a separate organization called The Goulbourn Museum. It received charitable status in March 2011 and in September of 2011, the Historical Society legally transferred its three-dimensional artifacts to the Goulbourn Museum.
The Historical Society retained ownership of its family history files, History files and genealogical files and also of its historic photographic collection. These files will continue to be maintained and made available to the general public by the Historical Society.
Research, documentation and communication continue to be major goals of the Historical Society.