Oakville Museum Exhibits and Collections

What About Water exhibitThe beautiful historic home and gardens of the Erchless Estate were once the home of our Town’s founding family, but are now the setting for Oakville’s Community Museum. You can also visit our new satellite exhibition gallery at Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre. General admission at  both locations during public hours is free!

The museum holds a diverse collection of objects reflecting the history of Oakville from its establishment to the present day including costumes and textiles, fine and decorative arts, ethnological artefacts and Chisholm family-related materials. Artefacts that are not currently part of our permanent or temporary exhibits are carefully stored to ensure their preservation. For information on donating artefacts to the collection, please visit the support page. 

Oakville Museum Exhibitions at Erchless Estate

8 Navy Street, Oakville
Open Tuesday through Sunday and holiday Mondays from 1 to 4:30 p.m.

What about Water? Oakville’s H20 & History
June 21, 2013 to May 3, 2015

Water is life – and life in Oakville has always been tied to water. Discover the influence water had on Oakville’s beginnings, its settlement, its growth and how Oakville’s existence remains dependent on water! This exhibit sponsored by Pets Plus Us.

Exhibit Sponsor

Link to Pets Plus Us website


Family, Farm and Fighting During the War of 1812
Until November 2014

Oakville's strongest link to the War of 1812 stems from the United Empire Loyalists who fought in the War, and settled in Trafalgar Township, particularly along modern day Highway 5. The hardships of these pioneers of Upper Canada were compounded on June 18, 1812 when the United States declared war against Great Britain.  This exhibit explores their stories.

Freedom, Opportunity and Family: Oakville’s Black History
Permanent Exhibit

Artifacts, pictures, text and a documentary video tell the stories of many of the African-American families who settled in Oakville and were important to the development of our community. Visitors will discover the story of Branson Johnson, a freeborn African-American, who arrived in Oakville with his family in 1855. His Certificate of Freedom from a Maryland court and the pocket watch in which it was hidden for many years are featured. Passed down from one generation to the next, the certificate shows how subsequent generations defined and preserved evidence of freedom.

The Underground Railroad: Next Stop Freedom
Permanent Exhibit

In this exciting and moving multi-media presentation, the ghost of Deborah Brown tells the true story of her heroic flight from a life of slavery in Maryland to her new life of freedom in 19th-century Toronto. The exhibit was created by Parks Canada in partnership with the Ontario Black History Society and the Royal Ontario Museum (Presentation available in French and English).

Oakville Museum Exhibitions at Queen Elizabeth Park

Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre, museum exhibit space
2302 Bridge Road, Oakville
Available for viewing during public hours. Visit the QEPCCC page for current hours.

What about Water? Oakville’s H20 & Sport
June 21, 2013 to May 4, 2014

Water is fun – and fun in Oakville has often been tied to water.  Uncover Oakville’s rich and interesting history with water sports. You will be surprised just how many sports that have enjoyed popularity in Oakville are dependent on water!

Colour Coded
May 12 – December 5, 2014

Your museum holds and shares many treasures from our community’s past! Colour-Coded will offer a kaleidoscopic look into the Oakville Museum’s diverse permanent collection. The objects on display will offer colourful insights into Oakville’s unique character and culture.

50 Shades of Black (Main Gallery)
June 26 – September 14, 2014

This spectacular new costume exhibition will follow the black dress from its origins as mourning wear to becoming the party colour of choice. Fifty rarely seen black dresses from the Oakville Museum’s extensive costume collection chart the course of this essential fashion item. 

Past Exhibitions

For more information about previous listings, visit our past exhibition page.

Community Outreach Presentations

Throughout the year, museum staff present a series of mini exhibits coupled with conversational-style presentations to seniors’ residences in our community. Various themes are covered including oddities in the museum’s collections, an overview of Oakville’s history, vintage quilts and cocktail party gowns. If you are interested in booking an outreach exhibit at your facility, please call 905-338-4400 or email ccross@oakville.ca.

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