An archaeologist who visited the Canowindra Historical Museum sometime back gave a very astute impression of it.
“There’s something for everybody,” she said. “And you can get right up close and personal with it.”
And that’s what around 40 residents and visitors found last Saturday during its three hour special open day.
I was one of them and, as a newcomer to Canowindra; I was astonished at the vast range of historical relics that it has to offer. There are literally thousands of them, and quite apart from rooms filled with historical displays, including a 19th century dental surgery, I was amazed at the bigger, more spectacular reminders of Canowindra’s past.
I began thinking, how many people here and elsewhere in the region, know of the museum’s incredible variety of vintage horsedrawn farm machinery, its 1926 Chevrolet half-ton truck, its mammoth eight-ton antique hay wagon, its 1924 butter churn donated – or, indeed, its tiny 1915 schoolhouse, slab hut, woolshed, little weatherboard shop and the hewn timber walls and high pitched corrugated iron roof of the town’s old 1910 station master’s cottage?
I can honestly say I’ve very rarely seen a community museum as fascinating as this one.
I’m also not actually surprised to learn that after 45 years of existence the museum needs a vital revival of community interest and support to avoid cultural stagnation. I’m told the museum needs to find ways of connecting with “a new generation of people” – reasserting its crucial cultural and educational value in this age of hi-tech detachment, with its iPads, computer games and mobile phones.
So, can I suggest we all start the ball rolling by visiting, and keep visiting – and keeping alive — this stunning testament to Canowindra’s past.
By Derek Maitland