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Harry Baker showed a heritage plaque mockup to the committee members at the meeting. The mockup depicts the Great Fire of 1915. Van Dusen photo

RUSSELL – The Russell and District Historical Society has been waiting for at least two years for approval to install a set of heritage plaques at various locations around the village.

Approval needs to come from Russell Township council as most of the installations would occur on municipal property; the historical society is hoping that the township will provide and erect posts on which to secure the plaques; to be made of an aluminum based compound.

Cost of the plaques has already been covered through a donation to the museum; new chairman, Harry Baker indicated during the society’s annual meeting Monday at the Keith Boyd Community Museum when he moved into the top executive spot replacing retiring Judy James. He’ll be joined on the board by Lois James as vice-chair, treasurer Barbara Agar, co-secretaries Connie Johnston and Mary Donnelly, curator Bob Proper, and Judy James as immediate past chair.

A mockup has been produced for one of the proposed plaques depicting the Great Fire of 1915 which levelled much of Russell Village, sparing the brick, former registry office which remained standing except for its roof. Equipped with steel doors and steel shutters, none of the records inside were destroyed.

Baker said he isn’t sure exactly why the township hasn’t moved forward with the project. One possible reason is that the municipal staff member assigned to deal with it has been away on prolonged sick leave; another is that the township has been going through an extended rebranding exercise and the plaques might not fit in with the future vision.

In other business, the meeting received various reports and finalized plans for its next big event, the Irish Tea Party at the museum March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. There’ll be live music by the Gallagher family accompanied by the Patterson dancers. Refreshments will be served.

Admission is free with donations accepted to help cover the cost of entertainment. Last year, the museum was packed for the same performance; $217 was collected in the donation box, almost all of which was turned over to the Gallaghers and Pattersons.

“We’re not trying to make money on it,” Baker noted. “It’s another way of attracting residents to the museum during our 30th anniversary year to learn about the collections we maintain on their behalf.”

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