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

Accessibility Features

Wheelchair accessible

Unobstructed path through public  hallways that are wide enough to allow  people using wheelchairs and other  mobility devices to move easily through  the building. 

Support persons welcome

Support persons are welcome to provide  services or assistance with  communication, mobility, personal care,  medical needs or access to facilities.  Please check with the organization about  entry fees, if applicable.

Service animals welcome

Service animal can be identified by visual  indicators (guide dog or other animal  wearing a vest/harness); or  documentation available from a  regulated health professional to confirm  the animal is required due to a disability. 

Elevator access

Elevator access to all public floors with  adequate manoeuvring room to enter  and exit the elevator.

Easy access electrical outlets

At least one electrical outlet within easy  reach has clear floor space in front for  charging an electric mobility device.

Accessible washroom

An accessible washroom stall has  adequate manoeuvring room for mobility  devices. Includes grab bars, transfer  space, accessible door latch, sink with  knee clearance, and lever handles or  automatic sensor faucets. 

Accessible drop-off location

Passenger drop-off is available by an  accessible entrance. 

Accessible seating

Reserved space with a clear view of the  event/activity for someone who is seated,  good sound quality, and adequate  manoeuvring room for a mobility device.

Accessible entrances/exits

A sufficiently wide, hard surfaced,  unobstructed path, no steps or equipped  with ramp connecting to a public  entrance or exit and identified by signage.  Automatic door openers, adequate  manoeuvring room in front of door.

Wheelchair and/or mobility devices available

Wheelchairs and/or mobility devices are  available, free of charge, or for rent. 

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.

Last updated: August 18, 2023

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