History of the Little Claybelt Homesteaders Museum

Picture of the original Shepherdson Basket Works Factory
Museum, as it was rebuilt for year 2001 opening
Museum as it stands today

The New Liskeard and District Museum was founded in 1974 and started developing a collection of artifacts in the Harris Township Orange Hall building on Highway 65 East. On July 15, 1991, the official name was changed to the Little Claybelt Homesteaders Museum.

In 1997 part of the collection was moved to a small storage barn in Dymond Township beside Ms. Claybelt, the large Holstein cow model, near the Temiskaming Shores & Area Chamber of Commerce.

In 1999 construction began on a new building at its present location. The new Museum building is a replica of the historic Shepherdson Basket and Pump Works that operated in New Liskeard from the 1930s to the 1950s. Our new facility officially opened on August 5, 2000. A storage building was added to the side and the Museum continues to look for other ways to expand its collection and exhibit space.

Our exhibits attempt to show the life of the early pioneers of the Little Claybelt region from the 1880s to the 1950s. Exhibits are changed periodically to encourage continued interest in return visits to the Museum.

Graydon Bowman Kiosk next to Ms. Claybelt

The Graydon Bowman Kiosk is located on the side of the Museum facing Highway 11. When Graydon Bowman passed away in 1999, the members of the local Ontario Federation of Agriculture spearheaded a movement to recognize work he had done on behalf of the agricultural community. During his life he served on local, provincial and national boards, working always to promote and enhance the business of farming. Money was donated by individuals and groups in his memory and it was decided that an agricultural directory should be built. It contains a brief outline of his work and achievements, as well as agricultural statistics and photos of the Temiskaming area. Perhaps most useful to visitors is a local map showing the name and location of farms where they many call in and observe the different types of agriculture taking place in the area.

Since 2006, the Little Claybelt Homesteaders Museum has collected over two hundred and eighty stories and memories of our pioneer families which we have published into volumes entitled Claybelt Chronicles. We also maintain a library of local histories at the Museum and add new stories as they become available. These stories and histories are accessible for research. We have many of these books for sale in our gift shop.