Murney Tower Museum is Kingston’s oldest museum, committed to providing the community with an engaging approach to the First Capital’s military history. One of the ways the Museum promotes Kingston’s history is by involving the community in many of the Museum’s events and initiatives. Opening Day is the first opportunity of the summer to draw in the community to experience what life was like for the Royal Canadian Rifle Regiment in 1846. Not only are important members of Kingston’s political and tourism community invited to attend and address visitors, but this year a local artist was also featured. In 2017, local artist Don Connolly was commissioned by the Kingston Historical Society to create a painting of the Tower for Canada’s sesquicentennial year. This painting features Murney Tower as it appeared in 1867 and in 2017. The painting (shown below) was unveiled in the Opening Day event and continues to be used in promotional posters and brochures.
First Capital Day is one of the most important days for the Tower to engage students in Kingston’s history. With all interpreters in costume for the day, teachers and students alike explore the Tower, learning about events not often featured in Canadian history lessons, like the Oregon Crisis. It is always a pleasure for the Tower interpreters to see the enthusiasm of the students and to share their excitement about the Tower and its history. This year, prints of Mr. Connolly’s paintings have been shared with teachers and educators in the hope that more students will ask about this portion of Canadian history and will visit the Tower to learn about Kingston’s military past.