Museums of Burlington: Joseph Brant Museum and Ireland House at Oakridge Farm are two of Burlington’s learning environments. Both sites represent the history of Burlington in unique and exciting settings. Open: Tuesday – Friday: 10:00 am – 4:30 pm/Sunday: 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm. Last tour leaves at 4:00 pm. Admission: Adults, $4.50, Seniors & Students $4.00, Children (5-12 yrs) $2.25 Prices include HST. Joseph Brant Museum: Built between 1937-1938 as a replica of the original home of Captain Joseph Brant, Thayendanegea, one of Burlington’s earliest settlers and an important figure in Canadian history, the Joseph Brant Museum is Burlington’s community museum. Through guided tours, changing exhibits, interactive displays, a hands-on discovery room, a new community gallery, educational programming, and special events, Joseph Brant Museum tells the stories relating to the development of the Burlington area complimented by travelling exhibitions that enrich the museum’s dialogue with the community. Ireland House Built between 1835-1837, Ireland House at Oakridge Farm was the home of Joseph Ireland, an English Immigrant and one of Burlington’s earliest settlers. In 1987 the home became a museum and the historic farmstead, now resting on 4.5 acres of original farmland, with its buildings, yards, gardens, and contents is interpreted to three distinct time periods, representing the generations of Ireland family who lived in the house. Visitors enjoy tours of the house by costumed interpreters, exhibits, special events, and participatory activities in keeping with the character and history of the House and the Ireland family.
Heritage House Museum is the municipal museum for the Town of Smiths Falls, with Victorian period rooms, changing exhibitions, gift store and grounds. In the early 1850’s the lure of plenty of water power and the promise of railway development attracted Joshua Bates, founder of nearby Farmersville (now Athens), to a site beside the roaring waters of Old Sly’s Rapids on the Rideau Canal. Bates built two mills on property leased from the Crown and promoted the development of the Brockville and Ottawa Railway Company. After suffering considerable losses in his milling operations and investing heavily in the now bankrupt railway company, he began construction of his large frame house in 1861. Despite his optimism for the future, fate did not allow Joshua Bates to recoup his fortune or to enjoy his new home. He died in debt on January 1st, 1864. Ironically, his home and mills were acquired by his competitor Truman R. Ward, eldest son of Abel Russell Ward, a founding father of Smiths Falls. After many years of neglect, the Corporation of the Town of Smiths Falls purchased the once dignified country estate from the Gleeson family in 1977 for use as a museum. Today the lifestyles of Joshua and Tamson Bates and Truman and Anabella Ward are depicted in the classically styled home where both families once lived. Heritage House Museum functions as a historic house depicting upper middle class life circa 1865-1875 and as a local museum featuring a permanent collection of Smiths Falls artifacts, traveling exhibits and art shows.