Mission House Preserving History as it Happens

COMBERMERE – Although the doors of the Mission House Museum in Combermere are temporarily closed, volunteers are hard at work capturing details that will help document this period in local history.

The museum is run by the Combermere Heritage society and this group is a sub-committee of the Township of Madawaska Valley’s Parks & Recreation Committee. It reports regularly to council on its activities. Councillor David Shulist is the councillor responsible for the Mission House Museum.

During a telephone interview with Heritage Society member, David Lethbridge, The Valley Gazette learned that volunteers from the Mission House are actively collecting stories and information that will document ways in which the pandemic of 2020 has impacted various groups in Combermere. While it is clear to us now why so many events have been cancelled, in years to come, future generations may wonder what happened to cause the cancellation of particular events in 2020. They may also wonder about the economic impact the pandemic has had on Combermere and businesses in the surrounding areas. Information collected by the volunteers will help to preserve the details of what happened during this time.

This project is a reminder that one of the roles of Mission House is to preserve history as it is unfolding. Its work is not just about looking backwards to the past in order to understand our history; its work is also to preserve and document information that will help future generations make sense of significant historical events. The pandemic of 2020 certainly qualifies as an event of historical significance.

David Lethbridge has a wealth of information on the people, places and events which have shaped Combermere. As a longtime resident and former pastor of St. Paul’s Anglican Church, he has been witness to many pivotal moments in local history. He is also an excellent researcher and was instrumental in the founding of Mission House Museum.

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