The Muse

The Muse is the umbrella name for the museum (the Lake of the Woods Museum) and art centre (Douglas Family Art Centre) in Kenora that proudly showcase the history, culture and talents of the Lake of the Woods community. The Muse also strives to live up to its commitment to embrace and strengthen ties with local Indigenous groups in an honest and respectful way. 

The award-winning Lake of the Woods Museum houses over 25,000 artifacts. A short walk across the street you’ll find the Douglas Family Art Centre, which focuses on local painting, art, crafts, textiles and beading. Considered ‘one of the coolest little museums in Canada’ by CAA Magazine, Lake of the Woods Museum showcases interesting historical artifacts that represent the region. Purchase a ticket and take a self-guided tour of the museum’s special and permanent collections combined with a tour of the art centre exhibits at the Douglas Family Art Centre. Adults and kids can also enroll in individual or small group art classes to brush up on creative skills or take up a new hobby at the art centre. Various art disciplines are offered, such as painting, sculpting and drawing.

For up-to-date information and details on The Muse, we recommend you visit their website. For information about other places of interest to explore nearby, keep scrolling to see what Destination Ontario recommends.

Long indoor balcony stretching towards back overlooking artworks on all sides of photos and paintings and tapestries

Some things to do may not be available due to COVID-19.

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More about The Muse

Lake of the Woods Museum was founded in 1964. At the time, the first home of the museum was in the Lands Title building and transferred to the city from the province. The collection focused on Indigenous artifacts bequeathed to the museum from a British captain and Lake of the Woods resident named Frank Edwards. Edwards acquired the pieces due to his personal fascination with Indigenous stories and folklore.

Throughout the years, the general public had been generously donating artifacts related to Kenora to the museum. By 1986, the collection had grown so much that the Lake of the Woods Museum was moved to its present day location.

In 2015, local Lake of the Woods residents Nicki and Bryce Douglas graciously donated their art collection to the museum. Included in their collection was work by Canadian painter, Walter J. Phillips, whose art paid homage to the beautiful landscape of Lake of the Woods. Since there wasn’t sufficient space in the museum to house the new artwork, the community worked tirelessly on applications and partnerships needed to create an extension to the museum into the heritage building across the street and turning it into a ‘cultural campus’. Thus, in 2019, the Douglas Family Art Centre officially opened. In addition to the gallery of artwork, the art centre hosts film screenings, curated workshops, family craft programs, various programs for knitting and crafts and more.

The Muse is located in downtown Kenora at 300 Main Street South. The Trans Canada Highway 17 runs through town. You’ll just turn south on Main Street to reach the museum. Metered parking is available on Main Street and Water Street, behind both buildings.

History buffs will appreciate the heritage-based programs and exhibits, including comprehensive maps that detail the earliest waterway routes in the region. No small feat for a place with over 14,000 islands and more than 105,000 km of shoreline.

Annual quilt shows from the Lake of the Woods Quilters Guild is always a hit among decorators, sewers and quilters. At the art centre, craft classes encourage unconventional and creative ideas for art projects.

Keep an eye out for unique and engaging special events like the Lake of the Woods Cemetery Tour. Museum educations take guests on a walking tour of the local cemetery and provide interesting tales and true crime backstories about pioneers and soldiers from the past. 

The volunteers and staff at The Muse are super knowledgeable and available to chat more about anything interesting you discover at The Muse.

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