The Society at any one time will have a variety of projects underway. These projects are accomplished by volunteers, often in cooperation with the Rideau Branch of the City of Ottawa Archives.
The projects described are the ones that are currently in progress. As they are completed they will be taken off this page and new ones will appear.
The Publishing Project has a goal of making local history available to anyone interested. This is accomplished by providing encouragement and assistance, as possible, to authors who want to do a book, or already have a manuscript that addresses local history.
The Society also addresses, where possible, the need to republish local history books that are popular but are now out of print.
The books below are examples See the publications page for more information on our books and where they are available.
The Speaker/Trip Series
An important project is the speaker series that is held in conjunction with the monthly meetings of the Society.
The speakers are chosen and recruited by the Executive. The presentations are of the order of 45 minutes to an hour and include slides, movie clips and artefacts. The presentation is preceded by a short business meeting. The evening ends with refreshments and a chance for further questions or to chat with the speaker.
Speakers are chosen for their subjects of interest that may or may not be some facet of local history. Recent speakers on local history have included Jonathan Moore, Parks Canada, on “Finding the HMS Erebus under the Arctic Ice” and Charlotte Gray on “The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master, and a Trial that Shocked a Country”. Other speakers have spoken on subjects such as Hadrian's Wall in England, and battles of the War of 1812.
Instead of having a speaker for the June meeting, the Society usually arranges a trip to a historical site of interest. For example the June trip in 2015 visited Kingston and toured several sites related to Sir John A. Macdonald.
Notifications of speakers, times and dates, and locations for this series of lectures appear in the RTHS monthly newsletter and are posted on the web site. The meetings are held on the third Wednesday of the month at various locations around the township. All are welcome.
Dickinson House Project
The Dickinson House was built in 1867 by Moss Kent Dickinson, founder of Manotick. It was one of the earliest houses in the village and served the community over time as more than a family residence. It was at various times a general store, a post office, a telegraph office, and a meeting place for local organizations. Sir John A. MacDonald was a guest for dinner there when he ran in the Carleton riding in the 1887 election. Both Moss Kent and his son George served as members of Parliament in governments of Sir John A. In addition Moss Kent and his sons ran the grist mill, served the community by participating as members and chairmen of local committees building schools, building bridges.
The house is thus of considerable historical importance. This has been recognized by the Rideau Township Historical Society and when the house became available in 2008, volunteered to open it as an 1870 to 1930 period house and museum. Since then, during the summer, the house has been open from late May to early December for tours, activities on the lawn, and other historical programing.
Financial support is made available from the City of Ottawa, Federal Government summer job programs for students, and from provincial sources. The operations are provided by RTHS volunteers supported by summer students.
For more information see the Dickinson House web site.
Plaques & Memorials
On a regular basis the Society identifies people who have made significant contributions to the development of Rideau Township and the recording of its history.
One example of this activity was the cleaning and repairing of the Dickson monument at Beechwood Cemetery and the mounting of a plaque repeating the burial information that could no longer be read from the stone.
A second example is the plaques and mementoes in honour of Coral Lindsay who contributed so much to local history in Rideau. Another memorial was the naming of the third floor of the Dickinson House to the Coral Lindsay Exhibition Hall.
Oral histories are an important element for understanding the development of societies. The Rideau Township Historical Society has recognized this and has been involved in two such projects; one in the 1970s and one at present. The 56 interviews for the one in the 1970s were carried out by the Heritage Committee of Rideau Township; the interviewees were senior citizens of Rideau Township. At this time he RTHS is assisting with that project by converting the reel to reel magnetic to CDs and DVDs.
The second project is for the purpose of interviewing a next generation of senior citizens to capture and record their memories. These interviews have begun and will continue for 2016 and into 2017. These interviews are being recorded on video DVDs.
On the left, the Dickinson Family monument at Beechwood Cemetery after cleaning and repair. The top part of the monument had been broken off by a falling tree branch in a storm. The RTHS also installed a bronze plaqlue containing the burial information from the stone, which was quite weathered and difficult to read.