On August 1st, 2009 the Bergland/Matchwood Historical Society opened the doors of their Museum. It was a long time coming, for 34 years the Historical Society was in search of a suitable building. In April of 2009, with the help of the Bergland Heritage and Cultural Center and the Ottawa National Forest, they came up with a solution. In 2002 the Heritage and Cultural friends had opened a Visitor Center in the office of the old Bergland Ranger Station (located immediately to west of Bergland). The Ottawa National Forest offered the use of the Ranger house to the Historical Society for their long awaited Museum. This agreement was a 4-win situation.
The Ottawa National Forest, the Heritage Center and the Historical Society all work together serving the Public. The people of Bergland and Matchwood townships, along with the passing public, are the big winners. The Museum was open only 7 short weeks before it had to close for the season. Each room is dedicated to certain themes. The Main room is for our Founder Gunlik Bergland and his family, old personal items, furniture, etc. It also highlights the logging era that Bergland was built on. One room has been turned into a Schoolroom. The class pictures adorn the walls, with the old desk that belonged to 2 icons, Myrtle Haskins and Agnes Latvala, our two secretaries who actually run the school! The school yearbooks as well as copies of the school paper, some old school books all fill the large bookcase. Old office equipment that the secretaries used, are also on display for public viewing.
One upstairs room is dedicated to the copper mining along the Old Norwich trail. These artifacts were the property of Reggie McDonald, a noted local historian. Along with the mining artifacts are old farm tools and equipment and some photos of farms long past.
The other room upstairs is being set up for the Bergland and Matchwood area sports. Bergland had a fierce rivalry with neighboring towns. This rivalry was a sports rivalry only as most residents had family in the other towns. Besides, we conducted some of our daily business in those towns. Old uniforms will be on display, including a WWI Army jacket.
The Historical Society has restored Bergland’s first fire fighting apparatus, a hand drawn pumper wagon. They are also have set up 2 jail cells in the basement using Bergland’s original jail doors. Artifacts keep coming in!
So take some time to step back into the History of our little town and bring your children. Set and look through the photo albums of the old town and some of its families. The coffee is always hot. The gift shop sports T-shirts, local crafts and books by local authors. Oh yeah, it doesn’t take much to get the volunteers who are working that day to tell you some tales of old. Tours available upon request.
Area information, a walking trail, native plant garden and picnic tables are available. Each year the “Friends” group host a community event, showcasing area history, flora and fauna, recreation opportunities and local artisans.
The Heritage and Cultural Center is open Wednesdays and Fridays from 12pm. – 4 p.m. The season starts Memorial Day and closes the end of September. We look forward to serving you.
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