109 Norfolk St. S. Simcoe, ON N3Y 2W3 - (519)426-1583

Norfolk Historical Society

Our mission is to promote awareness and understanding of all aspects of the County of Norfolk's heritage and history and to develop commitment to the preservation of artifacts and archives.

A Brief History of the Norfolk Historical Society - 1900 to 1950

In February 1897, Hal B. Donly, editor of the Simcoe Reformer urged the formation of a historical society in Norfolk County. The actual charter meeting was held in Judge Robb's chambers on February 9, 2023 with Judge Robb being named President.


Norfolk Historical Society at Fort Monroe 1900

Although the Norfolk Historical Society held irregular meetings after its formation, and had members who collected various historic artefacts, finding a permanent home for the Society and its treasures was elusive and included the following:

  • 1927 - the basement of the Simcoe Library, but it did not prove suitable.
  • 1929 - the Society acquired the old "Chadwick Academy near Vittoria, considered the oldest school in Ontario. Although several NHS meetings were held there, it too was deemed unsuitable.
  • 1941 - Eva Brook Donly bequeathed her beautiful Simcoe residence to the Town of Simcoe as a museum of art and antiquities. The Town approached the Norfolk Historical Society and the Eva Brook Donly Museum and Archives was officially opened in 1942.

The Society has been instrumental in placing, often in cooperation with the Dominion Historic Sites and Monuments Board, more than a dozen tablets or permanent cairns at historic sites throughout the County of Norfolk.

The Norfolk Historical Society continues to be the guardian of the Eva Brook Donly Museum and Archives through a Board of Directors, made up of members of the Norfolk Historical Society, which oversees the governance and daily operation of the Museum and Archives through direct participation as well as via monthly Board Meetings held on the first Thursday of every month.

For a more detailed history of the Norfolk Historical Society, please read NHS History - 1900 to 1975