PKED caught up with Lang Pioneer Village located in Keene, Ontario to talk about how they are using the Tourism Resiliency Fund to help their business through recovery from the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Where did the idea/concept for your business come from? (Or just share some important local history of your business)
Lang Pioneer Village Museum was established in 1967 by the County of Peterborough to commemorate the centennial of Canada’s Confederation. It is the Museum’s mission to preserve, promote, and authentically recreate the history of Peterborough County.
What has it been like navigating the pandemic with your business?
Navigating the pandemic as a living history museum has been a challenge. During a typical summer, the Village comes alive with staff and volunteers demonstrating traditional skills, chores and pastimes. Families can enjoy an entire day exploring the 25-acre site and over 30 historic buildings. The pandemic caused the Museum to quickly shift our operations into pre-booked guided tours to ensure that we could maintain social distancing between guests. The Museum’s education programs have always been a popular choice for educators and homeschoolers looking for a day of educational fun away from their traditional learning environment. The Museum quickly had to find a way to bring the education program experience into a virtual format so that it was accessible to all.
What will you be using the TRF funding towards?
The TRF funding will be used to purchase equipment that will enhance the Museum’s ability to create high-quality virtual programming. Along with on-site visits, Virtual Programming is another exciting way that Museums can reach audiences. It’s here to stay and we want to be on the forefront of creating great virtual content for our visitors.
What are your hopes for the business in the next few years?
We look forward to the day that we can resume regular operations once again and have the historic Village bustling with demonstrations and activities, much like a 19th-century hamlet would have been. As the Museum continues our partnership with Curve Lake First Nation and Hiawatha First Nation, it is our hope to accurately incorporate and expand on the First Nations’ perspective of settlement in Peterborough County into our daily interpretation. We are also excited about creating engaging virtual programming using the new technologies the TRF funding enabled. This will make the Village more accessible and help us extend our reach possibly even beyond our provincial and national borders.
What is it like owning a business in Peterborough & the Kawarthas?
Lang Pioneer Village Museum is owned and operated by the County of Peterborough. It’s a Museum for the whole community and it acts as a community hub. Not only does the Museum interpret our shared history to residents and visitors, inclusive of the history of the Michi Saagiig on whose traditional territory the Museum is situated, but it is a place for New Canadians to learn about their new home. It’s a place of gathering for special events, live music, craft guilds, weddings where love is celebrated and conferences where thinkers envision and plan for an even better future. It’s a beautiful and exciting place to work, volunteer and visit.
What makes your business unique to our region?
At Lang Pioneer Village Museum, we tell the story of the people and events that have impacted the history of Peterborough County. We maintain a living history experience that uniquely is able to bring 19th century history to life through the research, restoration and repair of buildings and artifacts and then demonstrating their use. First Nations history is an element that is often excluded from the settlement story but we recognize that it is a crucial element of our region’s story that needs to be told. We value our partnerships with Curve Lake First Nation and Hiawatha First Nation who bring their history, language and culture to the interpretation at the Village.
What is your favourite thing about living and working in Peterborough & the Kawarthas?
There is an exceptional balance in our region between having everything you need within close proximity but also the beauty of nature right outside your door. Plus, Peterborough and the Kawarthas offers a diversity of great restaurants, patios, museums and cultural activities. You can stay close to home and always find something new and exciting to do.
PKED is profiling several tourism-dependent businesses that were successful in receiving Tourism Resiliency Funding to support costs associated with adapting to public health measures and safety reopening, which will support the tourism industry’s recovery in Peterborough & the Kawarthas.