North Grenville – Following the recent purchase of the Kemptville Campus by the Municipality of North Grenville, there has been considerable interest expressed about the status of the historical artifacts that are currently at the Campus. The Municipality would like to share the status of these historical artifacts and specific details regarding next steps and plans.
Prior to being acquired by the Municipality, the Campus was under the ownership of the Agricultural Institute of Ontario (ARIO) which provided a location to store and maintain the artifacts. The Municipality appreciates the efforts taken by ARIO in facilitating the matter of ownership over Kemptville College historical artifacts.
The Municipality thanks and acknowledges the efforts on the part of the Kemptville College Alumni Association for collecting the campus historical artifacts and for coordinating their storage for safe-keeping as per their original agreement.
When the sale of the property was being negotiated, ARIO’s position regarding ownership was that any campus artifacts and memorabilia which were produced, gifted, printed or in use as part of the operations and programming of the College were owned by the province (ARIO) and therefore considered to be chattel assets that were transferred to the Municipality as part of the sale.
There are essentially three categories of items: 1) items that were in the possession of the Alumni Association prior to the collection and coordination of the Campus historical artifacts, 2) items that were collected from across the campus and stored for safekeeping and subsequently determined to be the property of the campus, and 3) items that were collected from across the campus and stored for safekeeping, and where definitive ownership has not been determined.
To the best of the Municipality’s knowledge, the items in the first category are in the possession of the Alumni Association and the Municipality has not, nor does it intend to make any ownership claim over these items. The items in categories 2 and 3, for the most part, remain in the possession of the Municipality and are located at the Campus.
As ownership has for the most part been determined, the Municipality is now able to communicate its plan for these artifacts. The plan, based on the advice of school staff and administration, is to showcase the rich history of the Campus for the benefit of students. In addition, consultation with an Archive Conservationist strongly supported a plan that would see Campus artifacts remain on-site and be displayed for the benefit of the greater community, as they represent a significant contribution to North Grenville’s history.
The Campus intends to showcase the items associated with buildings, staff and students to tell the story of the Kemptville Campus and to use the narrative from the book entitled “A College with a Purpose,” by Phyllis Dutchak, as the thread. The plan is to have the items considered relevant to the story displayed in mini galleries with historical interpretation throughout the Campus in public spaces. These public spaces would include those buildings that have broad public access for both our Campus and community stakeholders such as the Learning Resource Centre, cafeteria, Bell Hall, W.B. George Centre and Parish Hall.
There will be three initial phases associated with the Campus plan and a fourth associated with the installation of artifacts. In the first phase all items are to be catalogued, described and photographed. This work is already in-progress and will soon be completed.
In the second phase, the items specifically associated with the telling of the story will be identified which will most likely generate a reduction in the number of artifacts for display. A survey of the gallery spaces will be conducted to identify display needs in terms of furniture, cabinetry, lighting, interpretive panels and security requirements.
In phase three, each item on the shorter list of artifacts will be assessed by an archivist or conservationist to determine the condition of the item. The condition assessment will provide information on the restoration processes necessary ranging from none required to requiring significant restoration to ensure preservation.
Phase four, the final phase, will involve preparing the artifacts for display and creating the narrative/historical interpretation, with possible consideration for online archival display. The Municipality is in the process of finalizing a Material Cultural Heritage Accession/De-accession Policy which will be used to determine the cultural heritage value of all artifacts and memorabilia. This process needs to be conducted before any item can be released by the Municipality.
The Municipality understands that the Alumni Association has an interest in the items for their own display purposes. Once the initial phase is complete, the Municipality expects that there will be artifacts that fall outside of their plan and such items will be considered for donation to the Alumni Association. In addition, once the Campus artifacts are identified for display, should there be an interest on the part of the Alumni in the same items for their display, there is the possibility that the Municipality could facilitate replication at the Association’s expense. To facilitate this process, the Municipality will provide a copy of the catalogue of artifacts to the Alumni Association once it is completed, for reference, review and further discussion.
The Municipality will continue to stand by previous offers made to the Alumni Association to collaborate for the display of campus artifacts on-site and will be amenable to re-opening those discussions. Failing this, the Municipality is confident that their plan will support approaches for preservation and display that both the Municipality and the Alumni Association are undertaking.