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Museum name change splits Grey Highlands council

The South Grey Museum will become the Grey Highlands Museum
The South Grey Museum in Flesherton will change its name to the Grey Highlands Museum.

Grey Highlands council has approved a name change for the community’s museum - barely.

At its meeting on June 21, in a 4-3 recorded vote council supported changing the name of the municipality’s museum from South Grey Museum to Grey Highlands Museum. The issue divided council and resulted in a split vote with councillors Tom Allwood and Nadia Dubyk, Deputy Mayor Dane Nielsen and Mayor Paul McQueen approving the change.

The museum is located in Flesherton and recently underwent a significant renovation. With the name change now official, the museum is planning a rebranding exercise and an official reopening to be held in the near future.

Nielsen explained that the name change conversation began during the last term of council when the museum board supported the option. The new board appointed after the 2022 municipal election also supported changing the name.

“There is nothing with this name change that will change the focus and direction of the museum,” said Nielsen.

The issue caused a spirited debate around the council table.

Coun. Dan Wickens said the name change was “doing something for the sake of doing something.”

“I don’t think it gains anything. It will cost money for re-branding,” said Wickens.

McQueen supported the change and said Grey Highlands is the only municipality providing the museum with money to operate.

“If there was funding from other parts of South Grey, there would be a strong argument that yes, you should keep that name,” said McQueen. “We pay the freight.”

Coun. Paul Allen opposed the change and noted that all members of council recently received an 18-page history of the museum from local resident Kate Russell. Allen said the museum’s founders would likely be unhappy with the name change.

“I’m disappointed this came forward,” said Allen.

Coun. Tom Allwood said the renovation, rebranding and new name was an opportunity for the museum to tell its story and history to the community.

“It’s an impressive renovation. I’m excited about its future,” said Allwood.

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About the Author: Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Chris Fell covers The Blue Mountains and Grey Highlands under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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