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Woman finds 21 trunks containing historical treasures

Woman finds 21 trunks containing historical treasures

in Community/Events/Just in Time/Local News by

She inherited 21 huge trunks that had been kept in a basement for 57 years.

In a series of three exhibits at the Olde Gaol Museum in Lindsay, local artist Ann Louise Smith tells the incredible story of her grandparents through her artwork and a collection of family artifacts.


Her grandparents were Canadian Reverend Frederick Anderson and his true-love, American-born Mabel Jean, and their son, Walter.

Upon their deaths, Smith found herself with the incredible find that spanned nearly six decades of love and war, danger and peace.

Some of the items were collected during their travels around the world during their furloughs as missionaries. The more than 3,000 letters, written in perfect cursive, along with accompanying diaries and notes, spoke of grand times and challenging times, containing a richness that brings their stories to life.

“There are all these stories… like a wagon wheel with all the spokes,” says Smith.

Now, 78-years old herself, Smith says that she wants to share her discoveries as she “doesn’t know what will happen to all of this” when she is gone.

The first exhibit already held May 31 was on ‘Intricate Needlework of India’ at The Olde Gaol Museum.

The next two presentations and displays promise to be very fascinating. The second exhibit, ‘The Forgotten War,’ tells the story of Frederick and Mabel’s son, Dr. Walter Anderson and his experiences as a prisoner of war by the Japanese in Burma during the Second World War.

Anderson’s story of imprisonment is well-documented and rich with detail. Much of his correspondence was retained and several pictures capture the events.

Smith will present an overview with anecdotes at 7 pm on July 5 at The Olde Gaol Museum in the community room, with admission by donation. The items will remain on display for public viewing until July 29.

In the third and final exhibit of the series, ‘From Souvenir to Artifact,’ Smith will share a collection of unique artifacts accumulated by the Andersons during their world travels. This exhibit will open on Aug. 9 and will remain at the museum for public viewing during regular museum hours until Aug. 31.

Plans are being made by the museum to close this event with an India-style ‘Tiffin Tea.’ Contact The Olde Gaol Museum at 705-324-3404 or email ac.mu1540333834esuml1540333834oaged1540333834lo@of1540333834ni1540333834 for further details.

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Joli Scheidler-Benns is a PhD candidate in Health Policy and Equity at York University. She is a sessional professor for UOIT's Faculty of Education. She serves in a Research, Strategy, and Community Development role for The Lindsay Advocate while also serving as a Writer-at-Large.

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