Waterloo Region Museum
Tourism Region: Grand River Country
The Waterloo Region Museum is a one-of-a-kind cultural crossroads ... an inspiring, entertaining destination that connects visitors to the diverse people, ideas, stories and experiences that have defined - and continue to shape Waterloo Region's current realities and future potential.
The museum hopes to inspire people to realize the potential of individuals and communities, to enrich and expand the possibilities of their own lives, and to understand that their actions will impact those who come after us.
The vision for a community history museum in Waterloo Region was first suggested almost a century ago by the Waterloo Historical Society, and builds upon the success of Doon Heritage Village, founded more than 50 years ago.
The new Waterloo Region Museum building is located at the intersection of Homer Watson and Huron Road. The building includes community space and gallery space for a total of 4,365 m2 (47,000 ft2). The building is an energy efficient/sustainable construction project targeting LEED Silver.
The museum building is now open as the new gateway to Doon Heritage Village. This living history village is a recreated rural village with two farms that reflect life in the Region of Waterloo in the years from 1900 to 1914. Located on 24.3 hectares (60 acres) of environmentally sensitive forest, marsh, and farmland on Homer Watson Blvd., Kitchener, the village focuses on rural and agricultural history, the history of the automobile and fire fighting, multiculturalism, and social history. A rare-breeds livestock program includes horses, pigs, sheep, cattle, and a variety of poultry.
Waterloo Region Museum collects and preserves artifacts that relate to a number of different time periods, from pre-history through today, and cultures in the Region of Waterloo. Waterloo Region Museum plays an important role in the education of students and to the public’s awareness of the history that surrounds this area of the Grand River watershed. In 1983, the Region of Waterloo assumed ownership of the site from the Grand River Conservation Authority. Doon Heritage Village, located at Waterloo Region Museum, is one of the oldest cultural institutions in the Region of Waterloo, having opened in 1957.
Waterloo Region Museum is also home to the Waterloo Region Curatorial Centre. This 2,973 square meter (32,000 square foot) building opened in the fall of 1995. The building has environmentally controlled artifact storage, an archive and library, offices, and conservation labs. The Centre houses the Region of Waterloo’s local history community museum collection. In addition, Waterloo Region Museum houses the Waterloo Region Hall of Fame. Doon Heritage Village received the 1996 Canadian Museum Association and Ontario Museum Association Awards of Excellence for Collections Management for the Waterloo Regional Curatorial Centre.
When the Waterloo Historical Society was founded in 1912, then president W.H. Breithaupt and Secretary H. W. Brown stated that "it is the ambition of the Society to acquire at an early date, a substantial fireproof county building in which to preserve permanently all such records and general objects of historic interest". Since 1912, the collection of artifacts (many having been collected by the Waterloo Historical Society) and buildings, which has come to be known as Doon Heritage Crossroads, has grown into one of the largest community museum collections in Ontario.
Doon Heritage Crossroads has two missions. The mission which is most obvious to the community is the interpretation of a re-created 1914 village and two farms which celebrate the rural history of the Region of Waterloo. But Doon Heritage Crossroads also collects and preserves artifacts which relate to all time periods, municipalities, and cultures of the Region's history, hence the large size and scope of the existing regional history collection. This larger collection can now be managed and preserved for future exhibition.
Approximate number of objects in the collections: 40,000
Doon Heritage Crossroads' library and archives is open to the public during regular business hours, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To ensure access to the library, it is always best to call ahead.
Doon Heritage Crossroads maintains a library of books, journals and magazines which focus on the history of the Region of Waterloo, life in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and antiques and collectibles of all sorts.
The Doon Heritage Crossroads' archival collections include personal and organizational fonds, correspondence, memoranda, notebooks and diaries, maps and plans, photographs and other visual and audio-visual media, paintings and documentary art, and a wide range of ephemeral or fugitive materials. Books or other published works are considered archival if acquired as part of an archival collection (fonds).
Individual books and other published works of historical value are part of the collecting mandate of Doon Heritage Crossroads and are housed with the archival collection. Contemporary trade publications that are not considered to be rare are in the public reference library. These publications include books, periodicals, pamphlets, videotapes and others.
As well, the archives room at the Waterloo Regional Curatorial Centre is the repository for the permanently retained organizational records of Doon Heritage Crossroads and its predecessor organizations, consistent with Records Retention Schedules developed with Corporate Records/Archives, Corporate Resources Department of the Region of Waterloo. These include the following:
records documenting ownership of the collection; records documenting the history of objects in the collection
records pertaining to programs and activities in the living history site; records relating to building histories and building restorations.
Cartographic Materials •
Prints and Drawings •
Ceramics, Porcelain or Pottery •
Furniture or Furnishings •
Metalwork, Silverwork or Goldwork •
Musical Instruments •
Textiles or Tapestries
Canadian • Aboriginal or First Nations • European
Other Period: circa 1800-1930; Victorian and Edwardian
Painting • Photography
Folk Art • Religious Art
Clocks or Time-Keeping Devices
Costumes and Accessories
Exploration and Survey
Furniture or Furnishings
Household Objects or Domestic Technology
Industrial Technology and History
Maps, Charts, Plans or Blueprints
Medical History and Technology
Military History and Technology
Religious or Liturgical Objects
Toys and Games
: Motorized ground
: Non-motorized ground
Plants and Animals (Biological Collections)
Agricultural or Domestic • Endangered Species • Living Collections • Botany : Vascular Plants : Seed Plants
Services & Activities
Archival Records •
Conservation or Restoration •
Object or Scientific specimen identification
Classes or Workshops
: Age 0-4 (Pre-School)
: Age 5-11 (k-6)
: Age 12-17 (7-13)(Quebec: Secondary 1-CEGEP)
: Age 18 and up (Post-Secondary)
Children's Activities or Services
: Nursing area or Change Table
Meeting Room Rental
Nature Trails, Walks or Gardens
Special Needs Facilities
: Wheelchairs available
: Wheelchair access
Other Guided Tours: Complimentary printed visitor guide available in English, French, German, Portuguese and Japanese
Volunteer Services Available •
Volunteer Training Offered
Number of Volunteers: 800+
Activities: Special events; gardening; collections conservation; Board of Directors/Friends of Museum
Individual/Family Membership Benefits: free unlimited admission to both Doon Heritage Crossroads and Joseph Schneider Haus; 10% discount off all items valued $5.00 or more in the museums' gift shops; discounts on selected workshops, special programs and lectures; one complimentary Guest Pass for you to share with a friend; a wallet size membership card; memberships are good for one year from date of purchase.
Plus Reciprocal benefits at other museums and galleries in the region.
Snack Bar or Vending Machines •
Picnic Area •
Local Tourism Links
Publications & Products
George Bechtel. The 1914 Look; Landscapes and Gardens of Waterloo County. Kitchener: Regional Municipality of Waterloo, 1991.
Robert Stephen Bromley. Remembering the Railway Steam Era; Doon Heritage Crossroads Railway Oral History Project. Kitchener: Regional Municipality of Waterloo, 2000.
Margaret Goodbody. The Peter Martin House; Preliminary Report. Kitchener: Regional Municipality of Waterloo, 1986.
Margaret Goodbody. Scottish Settlement and Farm Architecture in Southern Waterloo County. Kitchener: Regional Municipality of Waterloo, 1988.
Margaret Goodbody. Streetscapes and Landscapes of Rural Waterloo County, circa 1910. Kitchener: Regional Municipality of Waterloo, 1986.
Elizabeth Hardin. The Grand Trunk Railway System in Waterloo County. Kitchener: Regional Municipality of Waterloo, 2000.
Elizabeth Hardin. Loyalty in Things Spiritual; The Freeport United Brethren Church, 1861-2001. Kitchener: Regional Municipality of Waterloo, 2001.
Al Junker. Township Halls in Waterloo County, 1900-1914. Kitchener: Regional Municipality of Waterloo, 1988.
Elizabeth Macnaughton. Electric Power in the Villages and Farms of Waterloo County, 1914. Kitchener: Regional Municipality of Waterloo, 1984.
Elizabeth Hardin Macnaughton. Life in the Rural Home, Waterloo County, 1900-1914. Kitchener: Regional Municipality of Waterloo, 1987. (Reprinted 1997.)
Elizabeth Macnaughton. The New Agriculture in Waterloo County. Kitchener: Regional Municipality of Waterloo, 1990.
Elizabeth Macnaughton. The Old Order Mennonite Community in the Early Twentieth Century. Kitchener: Regional Municipality of Waterloo, 1988.
Elizabeth Macnaughton. Preliminary Report on the General Store Re-restoration, Doon Pioneer Village (1984). Kitchener: Regional Municipality of Waterloo, 1984.
Elizabeth Macnaughton. Restoration and Interpretation of the Wellesley Post Office, Waterloo County, 1914. Kitchener: Regional Municipality of Waterloo, 1986.
Elizabeth Macnaughton. Tailors and Tailoring in Rural Waterloo County, 1900-1914. Kitchener: Regional Municipality of Waterloo, 1986.
Elizabeth Macnaughton. Transition and Tradition: A Guide to Clothing Styles in Waterloo County, 1907 to 1914. Kitchener: Regional Municipality of Waterloo, 1994.
Terry Veevers and Karen Hewson. Blacksmithing in Waterloo Region, 1900-1914. Kitchener: Regional Municipality of Waterloo, 1989.
Annual Reports •
Educational kits •
Museum Guide •
T-Shirts or Sweatshirts or Caps •
Commemorative Souvenirs •
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