The mission of Richmond County Historical Society is to research, conserve and share the history of Richmond County and vicinity. RCHS maintains an archive, accessible year-round by appointment, and a seasonal museum.
The Museum of Richmond County Historical Society (RCHS) occupies an acre of riverside land on the west bank of the St. Francis River in the portion of Melbourne Township, known as Upper Melbourne at 1296, route 243. It is a clap-boarded, three-story restored village home, believed to have been built more than 150 years ago. It has served as a hotel, an inn, a hospice, a tavern, an apartment dwelling, a private home once owned by the a nephew of the noted Canadian artist – Frederick Simpson Coburn and, since 1968, the Museum of RCHS. In 2004-05, thanks to the generosity of Melbourne Township, a bequest from the Marion Reed Kerr estate of Ulverton, and the support of many private donors, a major renovation took place at the museum when a new basement, roof and verandah were built, and a septic system was installed.
The Archives of RCHS is located on the first floor of the Town Hall belonging to Melbourne Township at 1257 route 243. The archives stores over 10,000 documents which include historical papers and documents of particular interest to Richmond County and vicinity. These documents include paper records (letters, diaries, journals and other unpublishedwritten materials); photographs and other visual records; maps, plans and architectural records; sound recordings and oral history tapes; printed material (local newspapers, books), electronically stored data and the records of the Richmond County Historical Society. The Archives serves as a meeting place for the various committees and a research facility.
The museum houses a great many household items of a by-gone era: on the first floor the visitor will find a complete kitchen, parlour, dining room, music room and a back shed where sleds, signs and photo displays are exhibited. On the second floor are three furnished bedrooms, a school room and a room over the kitchen which displays a post office (Upper Melbourne), tools and implements, rail, mining and military artifacts, shoe and harness making equipment, sports items, cheese making. The third floor is limited to storage of many artifacts not on display. All of the Society’s artifacts have been donated by the citizens of the area and reflect a working man’s town home circa 1860.
An Ice Cream Social is held every July and is one of the primary fund-raisers. It coincides with the strawberry season and, together with chocolate sauce and home-made cakes, it is always a popular event. The Annual General Meeting is held in late May and a Pancake Brunch accompanies it. The Harvest Luncheon is held at the end of October. Often the luncheon is a home-baked meal but occasionally, the Society holds the luncheon at the popular restaurant in Danville, Le Temps des Cerises.
The Tread of Pioneers, Vol. 1 & 2 which sell for $15.00 each. The Mulvena Papers by Henry Mulvena sells for $10.00. The St. Francis College book by Esther Healy is sold out. Several editions of “old” calendars sell for $5.00 each.
Museum: Visitors (non-members) adults - $5.00; children 10 and under - $3.00.
Archives: Visitors (Non-Members) to the Archives Centre: $10.00 for the initial visit, half day; $10.00/hour for subsequent visits.
1296, route 243, Melbourne, Quebec, J0B 2B0.