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My name is Britanny Benson and I am a co-op student at Strathroy District Collegiate Institute. I choose the museum because I have an interest in the preservation of artifacts. For the past three weeks, I have been working at the museum and completed various jobs. My first project was finding activities for the March Break programs, such as weaving paper fish, making a yarn sun, and using a paper bag to make an Easter basket. I also designed the promotional poster. I helped in the set-up of the current exhibit, “Quilts & Coverlets: Piecing Stories Together” and made the ID cards for the different quilt and loom related artifacts.

The week after March Break, I designed and put together the first of the “Hometown Heroes: Famous Canadians in Strathroy-Caradoc” displays on Stan Long. I choose items relating to Stan Long’s time as a member of the Strathroy Rockets hockey team. This project allowed me to be creative and gave me more experience with how a display is best set-up, even with only a few items. I have started designing next month’s display on Charlotte Rapley, as well. Although I’m unsure if this time will more or less difficult because there are more items that are associated with her, than there were for Stan Long.

Stan Long Display Case

Stan Long Display Case

I still look forward to completing the display because it is something I can learn from and be proud of once it is finished. Mostly, I look forward to working on cleaning the glass plate negatives that were found in Bosson’s Pharmacy in 2011. It will be interesting to see the pictures take shape a little bit at a time, like putting pieces of a puzzle together. I am having a lot of fun working at the museum and hope to learn as much I can.


For the next few months I will be focusing on artifacts that are on display in our current exhibition “Quilts and Coverlets: Piecing Stories Together”.  This month we will be looking at the Loom.

Full view of Loom

Full view of Loom

This working two-harness counter balance loom’s main purpose today is to make rugs.  It is also called a barn loom and it is the tradition type of large floor loom used around the world.  The history of this loom has passed down through 5 generations and a short summary is below.

It was originally built for Amerilla Graves, possibly by one of her brothers, shortly after she married John C. Robinson in 1856.  The loom had four harnesses at that time, and was used to weave homespun fabric for clothing and blankets.  It was used in their home located at Lot 14, Concession 7 Caradoc Twp.  Twelve children were born to the couple before John’s death in 1884 at the age of 48.  Before Amerilla died in 1913, the loom was moved to the home of her second youngest child, Maud Hunter.

In 1900 Maud married Eli Hunter, a dairy farmer, and lived on Victoria St. in Strathroy.  By this time, two harnesses were removed from the loom and it was only used for making floor mats.  Two of the Hunter children, Roy and Lucy, wove mats alongside their parents, and hundreds of yards were woven and sold.

After Maud died in 1929, the loom was used by her second child, Lucy, who married John Everett Hambly in 1927.  The loom was moved to Lucy’s home on English Street in 1934.  Lucy’s son Bill and two grandchildren, also learned to weave on the loom.  It remained in Lucy’s possession until she died in 1980.

It was donated to the museum in 1980 by Lucy’s grandchildren and restored in 1998 by Hans von der Recke of Katesville Woodcraft.

Currently the Strathroy Pioneer Treadlers, Spinners and Weavers Guild use the loom.   For more information on this group see their blog

Rug being made on loom

Rug being made on loom

Coming next month: The Ontario Quilt

About the Museum

Museum Strathroy-Caradoc opened to the public in 1972. As a community museum we strive to preserve and tell the story of Strathroy-Caradoc, and inspire residents to explore and understand the community around them.

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