The OMAH collection is home to over 12 000 donated artifacts which illustrate the heritage of the City of Orillia and surrounding area. Our collection features objects, archival documents, photographs and works of art pertaining to Sir Samuel Benfield Steele, Arthur Shilling, Franklin Carmichael, and others with a relationship to or have made a significant contribution to the City of Orillia and the surrounding area. These artifacts reflect the natural and human history of Orillia and are used for documentation, preservation, research, exhibition and interpretation purposes. 

Heritage research is a never-ending treasure hunt through time. We are constantly researching and categorizing new donations that piece together Orillia’s history. Many artifacts of note are displayed in our exhibitions, as well as interpretive educational programming. 

OMAH’s Research Room is a volunteer run resource for information on local history and genealogy. Visitors looking to do research are welcome to set up an appointment with one of our knowledgeable volunteers.


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FAQ’s about the Collection at the Orillia Museum of Art & History

What kinds of artifacts are in the collection?

Among the 12,000 artifacts in the museum collection, we have a variety of pieces which range from artwork, textiles, metal and woodwork. Some of our featured pieces can be seen in our “Archive Finds”. 

How do I donate to the collection?

It is recommended that you contact the Registrar via phone or email to establish the best plan of action for your artifacts. An appointment may then be made to bring in artifacts for the Registrar to assess. Please visit our “Contact Us” section of the website for further details.

Can I volunteer for the Collections Department?

Absolutely! The Orillia Museum of Art & History is always looking for interested volunteers to help create a safe and organized environment for our collection. An ideal candidate will have some interest in history, keen sense of organization and appreciation for detail. If you are interested in volunteering in the collection department, we ask that you fill out the online form with your contact information and your availability. Forms can be found here

What does the Registrar Do?

The Registrar at the Orillia Museum of Art & History is the steward of Orillia’s history. The Registrar’s main role is to preserve artifacts related to the history of Orillia and the surrounding area. This involves carefully monitoring the controlled Collections Room using the Canadian Conservation Institute’s guidelines for good museum practices. The Registrar maintains the computer database where all information regarding the collection is stored. Having a concise and accessible database is crucial for the museum. The Registrar also plays an integral role in deciding which artifacts are collected for the museum and works with other departments within the museum to help develop exhibits and education programming based on the current permanent collection.