Haliburton Highlands Museum director Kate Butler stands with the old press and related equipment that was used to publish the Haliburton County Echo. /DARREN LUM Staff

Learn about the Highlands’ history at the museum

By Darren Lum

Currently, the museum is closed due to the provincial stay-at-home order. However when the province lifts the stay-at-home order the museum will once again welcome visitors.

Take a journey back in time and touch and see the history of the Highlands at the Haliburton Highlands Museum, located at 66 Museum Road, a few minutes from the village.

Kate Butler, the museum director, said the museum that was founded as the Haliburton Highlands Pioneer Museum in 1967 houses a vast array of historical artifacts from the indigenous peoples and community and those that came to the area to make their fortune with lumber, or to settle and grow a family.

The collection includes the Haliburton County Echo printing press; also tools from the past that will leave you scratching your head with its “What is it?” wall and case; hockey artifacts and memorabilia from the past 100 years, which shows the passion for the Canadian winter sport; black and white photos taken in the early-1900s by merchant and hobby photographer Daniel Gorrie, who captured historical highlights such as the first ever automobile sighting at the Grand Central Hotel in the Village of Haliburton, which wasn’t received well by the locals according to the Lindsay Daily newspaper; hundreds of taxidermy birds, including dozens in one large glass case, which includes an example of the extinct passenger pigeon last seen in 1914. Learn about what life was like at the turn of last century and the cost of living with how a used car in 1929 would cost anywhere from $85 to $595.

See an example of the fabled Side Hill Gouger, who was a wild-boar with wings.

Shy by nature, the Gouger was forced to exist deep in the woods when settlers came in the late-19th century.

It possesses the unique attributes of having one set of its legs on a side of its body longer than the other to enable it to walk on steep slopes. The disparity of its legs unfortunately forced the Gouger to only walk in one direction, and if forced to turn around it would fall over.

It’s wings, Butler said, were not for flight.

“According to the legend though, his wings weren’t actually big enough for him to get off the ground (which is probably a good thing!), but the Gouger was known to use them like fins to help it to swim,” she wrote in an email.

Note: this past week the museum provided the public with its Spring Activity Kits, which included crafts, gardening, scavenger hunts and more. It was recommended for children six to 10 and were by reservation for curb side pick-up this week.