Poor House Book Launch at Wellington County Museum and Archives

Posted On Friday May 27, 2022

ABOYNE, ON – Calling all book lovers and history enthusiasts! Join us on Thursday, June 9 as we unveil the stories of the Poor House and its residents in our new book If These Walls Could Speak: The Story of the Wellington County House of Industry and Refuge with author Susan Dunlop, past-curator of the Wellington County Museum and Archives.

“The story of rural Houses of Industry and Refuge, also known as the Poor House, has been a forgotten part of Ontario’s early history,” says author Susan Dunlop. “This book explores how the issues of poverty laid the foundations of our modern social welfare policies, told through the experiences of the women, men and children who passed through the doors of the Wellington County Poor House.”

This year marks the 145-year anniversary of the Poor House, and the book launch party is the kick-off celebration to several initiatives dedicated to acknowledging this history. A new addition to the award-winning exhibit If These Walls Could Speak will also be unveiled, with never before seen Poor House artifacts.

“Many residents regularly drive past this amazing property and admire the building on the hill. We really look forward to hosting the public this anniversary year, getting them to come in and experience the history” says County Councillor and Chair of the Information, Heritage and Seniors Committee Mary Lloyd.

Event Details:

  • 6:00 pm - Doors open, wine and cheese.
  • 6:30 pm – Presentation by Susan Dunlop (also available on Zoom by Wightman).
  • 7:30 pm – Q&A, guided tours and book signing.

“It is important to capture the stories of the people and events that were part of this incredible National Historic Site that has been in the County’s care since 1877,” says Jana Burns, Wellington Place Administrator. “Susan has done a brilliant job in conveying the truth, showing both the bad and the good. The book enables the reader to reflect on how we used to treat society’s most vulnerable, and whether, in many respects, we have come very far at all.”

Wellington County Museum and Archives is located on Wellington Road 18 between Fergus and Elora and is open weekdays from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm and on weekends from 1:00 to 5:00 pm. Admission is by donation. Learn more at www.wellington.ca/145anniversary.


Media Contact:
Hailey Johnston, Curator
T 519.846.0916 x 5226
E haileyj@wellington.ca

© 2023 County of Wellington, 74 Woolwich St. Guelph, Ontario N1H 3T9, T 519.837.2600, TF 1.800.663.0750, F 519.837.1909