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June 18, 2024

Celebrating 50 years of Dalnavert Museum

On June 18th, 2024, Heritage Winnipeg Executive Director Cindy Tugwell and Intern Lovissa Wiens attended a 50th anniversary event for Dalnavert Museum. The event included speeches from Dalnavert Museum Board Secretary Vanessa Warne as well as Acting Executive Director Samantha Machado, and a very special address from Manitoba’s Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Anita Neville. Guests were treated to catering services as well as a sneak peek at the Museum’s upcoming visitor’s centre exhibit: Dalnavert’s Golden Year. The room was filled with people who have played various roles in the museum’s 50-year history, catching up and reminiscing on their time spent at Dalnavert.

Three of the original members of the Friends of Dalnavert Museum. From left to right: Vanessa Warne, Secretary of Dalnavert Board; Ines Bonacossa, Dalnavert Board Member and Collections Registrar; and Cindy Tugwell, Executive Director of Heritage Winnipeg.

The historic house was built in 1895 for Sir Hugh John Macdonald and was designed by Charles H. Wheeler. The Macdonald family lived in the Queen Anne Revival Style home until Hugh John’s passing in 1929. For the four decades that followed, Dalnavert was used as a rooming house under a series of different owners.

In order to save the building from demolition in 1969, the Manitoba Historical Society and other heritage advocates spent years researching and restoring the historic house in hopes of converting it into a living museum. On June 18th,1974, Dalnavert Museum opened its doors to the public for the very first time.

In 2013, the MHS, who had been running Dalnavert Museum since its opening, made the unfortunate choice to close the museum doors. It was then that a group of Dalnavert volunteers and heritage community members (including Heritage Winnipeg Executive Director Cindy Tugwell) formed The Friends of Dalnavert Museum. They spent the next two years planning, writing, phoning, and pulling whatever strings they could to reopen the museum. Needless to say, their hard work payed off.

Dalnavert Museum and Visitors Centre reopened to the public in 2015, and has remained open since, under the stewardship of the Friends of Dalnavert Museum. Heritage Winnipeg is proud of the work being done at the museum and we are honoured to be a part of its story.

Thank you Dalnavert Museum for inviting Heritage Winnipeg to celebrate this milestone with you. Happy anniversary!

Friends of Dalnavert Museum founders Vanessa Warne, Ines Bonacossa, and Cindy Tugwell reminisce on the hard work they put towards saving the museum.

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