Museums Foundation receives $1.4 M bequest from Caldwell Estate. Big plans for Joseph Brant Museum expansion

By Staff

Burlington, On—April 18, 2011 The Joseph Brant Museum just might have a life afterall. The Museums Foundation announced receipt of a $1.4 million bequest from the estate of the Helen Ireland Caldwell. Caldwell, who passed away in August 2010, was first cousin to Marie Ireland, the last Ireland family member to live in historic Ireland House before it was bought by the city and turned into a museum in 1987.

“The Helen Caldwell estate is very pleased that her bequest to the Burlington Museums Foundation will be used to help preserve Burlington’s heritage,” said estate executor Paul Charlebois, Q.C. “The Burlington of today rests on the foundation of the values of its pioneer families.”

“We’re extremely grateful for Helen Caldwell’s generous gift and for her commitment and generosity to the museums of Burlington over many years,” said John Doyle, chair of the Burlington Museums Foundation. “She leaves a great historical legacy that supports the rich heritage our community.”

Helen Ireland Caldwell was a volunteer at Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital, Joseph Brant Museum, the Ireland House at Oakridge Farm, and a longtime member of the Burlington Historical Society.

Born in 1918 Helen Mary Ireland was . 21, 1918 in Hamilton. She was a case worker for the Children’s Aid Society in Hamilton from 1959 to 1983. Helen was instrumental in carrying out Marie Ireland’s dream of turning the Ireland home into a museum.

Helen married Charles Clelland Caldwell in 1948 in Hamilton.  Charles died in 1959, when he was only 39 years of age.

Built between 1835 and 1837, Ireland House at Oakridge Farm was the home of Joseph Ireland, one of Burlington’s earliest settlers. Emigrating from Bowes, Yorkshire, England in 1819 at the age of 27, he petitioned for land at Oakridge Farm and so began a legacy that continues today.

Joseph and his descendants lived in Ireland House until 1985. In 1987, the City of Burlington bought the property from the estate of Lucie Marie Ireland Bush and set up a museum, restoring the homestead to show three distinct time periods that represent the generations of Irelands who lived in the house: the 1850s, 1890s and 1920s.

The property consists of four acres of woodland, gardens, potting shed, cottage/drive shed, and picnic areas. The Museums offer tours of the property, living historical demonstrations, special events and educational programs .



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