Today's photo shows Fort Malden in Amherstburg (a town increasingly
referred to as "A-Burg" locally...). This is a Parks Canada site with
some excellent exhibits.
Consideration of Fort Malden's status in terms of preservationists vs
developers, "heritage-sensitive" types vs "progress = tear down and
build new" types raises some interesting points.
When it was being developed, Fort Malden was a "community" museum in
the sense that its exhibits were an eclectic mix of what the local
community chose to donate. It was a fascinating place, packed with
"old stuff" including stuffed animals (birds, mainly), old kitchen and
farm utensils, models of Great Lake shipping, etc etc etc.
Parks Canada eventually took over and focussed the exhibits on the
Fort's military history: primarily, the War of 1812 and the Rebellion
Since Parks Canada took over, the site has been constantly upgraded-
but in fits and starts. On the south side, a row of houses used to
border the Fort. Many of these houses have been purchased and
demolished and their land incorporated in to the site. This has
allowed the reconstruction of the earthworks of the south-west
bastion. I have been told that Parks Canada has a special fund used
only for capital land purchase expenditures, so that eventually, the
remaining houses will probably become part of the Fort.
It is undeniable that at least in its current configuration, the site
is still very small, which makes staging a large reenactment event
problematic. There is a municipal park to the south of the Fort - if
the remaining houses "went" and this park was also incorporated in to
the Fort, then there would almost be a link to the Navy Yard park, and
there would be a lot more room to do things...
Is it wishful thinking to believe that at some time in the next few
hundred years, all the lands that were once part of the substantially
larger 1812-era "original" fort will be incorporated in to the site?
This would involve expansion not just to the south, but the east
(closing Laird Avenue and incorporating the High School that can be
seen in the picture as well as a few private residences) and north (a
few very expensive-looking private residences) as well.
One summer, firing was prohibited between certain hours in the early
afternoon. Reason? A neighbour complained the musket-firing
demonstration (one musket, fired once or twice) given once an hour was
waking up her baby. Life's hell near even a partially recreated
military post, ain't it?