Cottage Shack Articles Museum Articles

Cottage Shack Articles: The A-Team at the Coldwater Museum Part 3 – Oct. 15, 2021

You can read the original article and the rest of the series from the Cottage Shack magazine

My name is Clay and I am one of the original members of the A-team at Coldwater Canadiana Heritage Museum (CCHM). The A-Team is a group dedicated volunteers who use their particular skills and experience to improve various aspects of the museum. On any given Wednesday you will see anywhere from six to twelve of us working on up to three different projects. These might, for example, include erecting a pole barn, restoring a buggy, installing a new roof, replacing old boards on a barn, adding signage, creating a kid-friendly playhouse, maintaining a steam-powered tractor. The list of the dos at the museum is endless.

Although there is a lot yet that needs doing or that we wish to accomplish, a truly amazing transformation is taking place at CCHM and we are proud to have a part in it. You could too!

In Parts 1 and 2 of the stories of the A-Team, I wrote about how a friend and I began volunteering at the museum on Wednesday mornings and by year two we had expanded to a crew of four. I also shared some details about the early restoration and refurbishment projects that we tackled.

Year 3 was all about building fences.

As you drive along Woodrow Road next to the museum you’ll see cedar split-rail fencing the full length of the property that appears to have been there for over a century. Although the rails may be that old, it was in 2015 that all this fencing began to appear in its present location.

It had become evident in recent years that trespassers were causing damage to the lawns and gardens and that some artifacts were disappearing. A fence was in order. The board of directors felt that a heritage fence such as the 30-foot section by the arbour would be appropriate.

Enter the A-Team – quite the scavengers. Volunteer Doug noticed that his neighbour had a massive amount of cedar rails in an overgrown section of his property. The posts had long since rotted away, but many of the rails were salvageable. The neighbour kindly donated the material. And a friend of volunteer Gord donated a slew of cedar logs that were ideal for posts.

The team, including new volunteer Mike, decided to dig the post wolves the old-fashioned way by using a manually operated posthole auger operated primarily by “Posthole Bobby.” One of us called it the hysterical way. 120 postholes were dug and 120 poles were debarked and installed.

110 rails were attached, the larger ones having been split in two using wedges the hysterical way. The following year we installed a gate and completed the project.

If you are retired – or not – and want to spend one day a week with a group of really great guys doing some remarkable historical preservation works, give me a call at (705) 209-1087. Or email me at