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Niagara Falls
Thursday, July 11, 2024
Donors help museum buy Carnochan house for $1.4 million
Sarah Kaufman, Lord Mayor Gary Zalepa and the Goettler and Joyner couples officially announced the NOTL museum's acquisition of the Carnochan house on Monday. Dave Van De Laar.

When Lauren and Vaughn Goettler moved to Niagara-on-the-Lake in 2015, the museum was one of their first stops in town.

After they bought their waterfront house on Ricardo Street they found inspiration for their landscaping at the NOTL Museum.

“The landscaping plans from our house are in the museum,” Lauren Goettler says.

She and her husband would go to the museum and view the original landscaping plan from 1904.

The plans included their property, along with most of Ricardo Street, which was all owned by John James Wright.

The museum’s collection also included photographs and other information about its famous landscape architect, Lorrie Dunington-Grubb, who designed and built the home.

Goettler said she was especially interested in a fountain that was in the original driveway of the home.

“It gave us the inspiration to put a fountain in our driveway,” she said, adding that they placed it in almost the exact spot as the original.

“It’s our little tribute to John James Wright and Lorrie Dunington-Grubb.”

The couple, who have done much to preserve their home’s history, learned a lot from the museum.

“They had all kinds of documents on our house, who owned it, the history, how it was built. That right there ignited our passion for the museum,” Lauren Goettler said. 

And earlier this year when the museum told the couple about its desire to buy former home of museum founder Janet Carnochan, they just “had to get it back,” she said.

Geoffrey and Lorraine Joyner felt the same way. 

Geoffrey Joyner said that when they arrived in Niagara in 1990, the first institution they got involved with was the Niagara Historical Society and Museum.

“Which was a mouthful back then,” he joked.

Over the years the Joyners helped put together exhibits, arranged art appraisals and supported the museum’s lecture series. 

“We’ve had a great affinity for the museum over the past three-and-a-half decades. We love it,” he said. 

But with more than 50,000 objects in its collection, the museum is running out of space, thus the purchase of a new property made perfect sense.

Donations from the Goettlers and Joyners, and contributions from the museum and the town, led to the  $1.425 million purchase of Carnochan’s old home at 25 Castlereagh St., right next door to the museum.

Museum officials and guests celebrated at the announcement of the acquisition on Monday morning outside the museum.

Built in 1911, the property was acquired in 1906 and Carnochan severed the piece that became the museum site, director Sarah Kaufman told The Lake Report.

She lived in the home until she died in 1926.

Carnochan helped establish the NOTL Historical Society in 1895, which led to the opening of the NOTL Museum in 1907. It was the first purpose-built museum in Ontario.

Kaufman said the historically significant building will provide the museum with a needed extra few thousand square feet of space.

“This represents a very strategic move to advance our mission of preserving and promoting the cultural heritage of the region,” she said during the presentation.

“In addition to serving as a vital piece of history, this acquisition will also yield substantial benefits for the museum’s ongoing renovation and expansion plan.”

The museum launched a $10-million fundraising campaign last fall to cover the costs of a major expansion.

Headed by pharmacist Sean Simpson, the campaign aims to bring in $5 million from donors and match that amount with government grants.

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