Toronto museum features new exhibits

SOMETHING NEW — The military memorabilia collection of Ralph Donofrio is a new addition to what visitors will see at the Main Street Museum operated by the Historical Society of Toronto. -- Contributed

TORONTO — Another “exciting year” is starting for the Historical Society of Toronto, which operates the Main Street Museum, located at 210 Main St.

“A full calendar of events are scheduled for the 2017 season with new exhibits and more story-sharing groups planned,” remarked Carolyn Walker, society president.

On display is the military memorabilia collection of Ralph Donofrio, including a replica made by Donofrio himself of the LSM Amphibious Landing Craft that he served on as a Navy crewman in World War II. Donofrio also has donated WWII helmets, a bugle and canteen from the 1870s and a scrapbook of his war years.

The exhibit was further enhanced, according to Walker, with WWII pictures from the collection of Terry Jones and scrapbooks of local veterans collected by the society, one of news clippings of WWII by Dorothy Beatty and a picture album belonging to Charles Joy.

“A new exhibit features the churches in Toronto with histories and pictures,” Walker explained. “Many of the church congregations date back before Toronto became incorporated in 1881. The community is fortunate that these congregations have maintained the buildings and furnishings and are constantly making improvements, she added

Before the express unisex hair salons of today, men patronized barbershops not only for haircuts but also for shaves, Walker noted. “Women would go to their favorite hair dresser and sit in utter torture as her hair was permed or waived by large curling machines,” she said, noting the collection of Tina McCoy includes old-fashioned rollers, perm rods, powders and vanity sets. “A story sharing night of your favorite place is planned for later in the month,” Walker said.

“Our season is just beginning,” said Linda McFerren, society vice president. “This year we are opening on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. along with our regular Sunday hours. On these evenings we have planned special sharing topics such as barbershops and beauty shops; bars, taverns and pool halls; getting to know our local veterans; and a Toronto Trivia night,” McFerren explained.

Plans are in the works for the second season of “Ghost Walks” with more characters and places. “Everyone has a story so come and share with us,” McFerren said.

The Main Street Museum is open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. every Sunday. Admission is free, although donations are encouraged. Historical society memberships are available for $15 a year, and volunteers are always welcomed. For information, contact Walker at (740) 537-2157.