Oakville Museum Exhibitions and Collections

The 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 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 artifacts and Chisholm family-related materials. Artifacts that are not currently part of our permanent or temporary exhibits are carefully stored to ensure their preservation. For information on donating artifacts to the collection, please visit the support page.

From Far and Wide: Tales from a Suitcase

July 1, 2017 to September 16, 2018 at Erchless Estate

Using the museum’s suitcase and costume collection, as well as archival documentation, this exhibit shares stories of immigration from over 150 years as a collective history of becoming Canadian.

The people who came to make Oakville their home brought their unique skills, energy and vision and have contributed to the development of the community.
This exhibit explores a small number of Oakville immigration stories from the first fifty years after Canadian Confederation in 1867.

The Art of the Hat

Now open at Erchless Estate

Hats from the Speir’s collection and the Museum’s permanent collection showcase the beauty, workmanship and history of millinery as both a craft and form of expression. This exhibit offers an exciting view into the fashionable lives of Ontario women in the twentieth century.

Our HOME and Native Land: Being Canadian

February 17, 2017 to January 2018 at QEPCCC, museum space

A Canadian story of Oakville voices! Representing different cultures and traditions from around the world, Oakville residents share what being Canadian means to them. This exhibition uses museum artifacts to explore some of Canada’s most iconic symbols. Symbols that tell the story of our nation, our people, environment, history and traditions.

Please note: This exhibit is on display at the Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre located at 2302 Bridge Road.

Stand on Guard: Sport in Canada

Until September 2018 at Sixteen Mile Sports Complex, 3070 Neyagawa Blvd

An amazing look into the history of Canadian sports and how they are influenced by our seasons, geography and social diversity. Learn the cultural origins and some cool facts about hockey, lacrosse, cricket and more of our favourite sports.

The Underground Railroad: Next Stop Freedom

Permanent Exhibit at Erchless Estate

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.

Freedom, Opportunity and Family: Oakville’s Black History

Permanent Exhibit at Erchless Estate

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.

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 carolyn.cross@oakville.ca.