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.

Read Me a Story: Fables and Fairytales

February 29, 2020 to Winter 2021
Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre, 2302 Bridge Road

Elders have tried to teach children important life lessons through storytelling since time began. Through museum artifacts we take a whimsical look at reoccurring themes found in fables and fairytales from a long, long time ago.

Commemorations and Celebrations

November 23, 2019 to September 2020
Erchless Estate, 8 Navy Street

The ability to remember is an inherent human trait. Our senses remind us of experiences we have had and can jolt us back to them. Many objects have a specific role of making us remember a particular moment in time. From events both large and small, every artifact in this exhibit has a story to tell. From a bottle of champagne given to the Allied soldiers who participated in the D-Day landings to a wedding gown capturing all the promise and joy of marriage, every item marked an important event in someone’s life.

Preserving Peace: Souvenirs of Peacekeeping

August 9, 2019 to May 2020
Erchless Estate, 8 Navy Street

Since the invention of Peacekeeping by Lester B. Pearson in response to the 1956 Suez Crisis, Canada has assumed a leading role in missions around the world. Learn about Canada’s contribution to global peace and about Canadian peacekeepers, through their uniforms, medals, souvenirs, photographs and letters as they faced considerable risks while operating in some of the most challenging environments.

What's Your Type: Textiles and Typewriters

June 6, 2020 to May 2021
Erchless Estate, 8 Navy Street

This exhibit explores two machines with complex relationships with women, their societal roles and their voices. It features typewriters and sewing machines from 1875 to 1975 and considers their material aspects and design. It provokes questions about the status of these machines and how they act as a reflection of the women who owned and used them.

Freedom, Opportunity and Family: Oakville’s Black History

Permanent Exhibit at Erchless Estate, 8 Navy Street

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 at Erchless Estate, 8 Navy Street

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.

History of Sledge Hockey

Now on at Sixteen Mile Sports Complex, 3070 Neyagawa Blvd

What is sledge hockey? Sledge Hockey of Canada (SHOC) was established over twenty-five years ago. Learn about the history of the sport, the rules of the game and get introduced to some of its leading athletes, some of which call Oakville home.

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.