News Release - October 1, 2019
The Cobourg Museum Foundation has just released its new VITA website, making available to the public, for the first time in a searchable way, its growing collection of almost four hundred story panels and many of its collection of artifacts.
During the summer, two students were kept busy uploading the material into the VITA platform which is specifically designed for not-for-profit organizations to upload, describe and display their digital collections. It is the same platform as used by many institutions throughout the country, including the Cobourg Public Library (for its Cobourg and District Images) and Brighton Digital Archives.
The story panels, which have been the basis of the annual exhibits at the Sifton-Cook Heritage Centre, had previously been uploaded to the CMF website. They were viewable there but not searchable. Now significant words from all panels can be found through a simple search engine on the new VITA website.
For instance, entering the words “Rice Lake Bridge” yields four story panels on the Cobourg and Peterborough Railway. Entering “German” yields thirteen panels, including mention of the German labourers who died of cholera while building the bridge, the German sniper who shot the last Canadian WW1 casualty and the German Olympics in which Cobourg hurdler Larry O’Connor participated.
Because of lack of physical storage space, the Museum Foundation is currently limited in what artifacts can be added to its collection. However, a recent gift from collector Don Mikel of a number of items of furniture has added significantly to its collection. Most artifacts in the collection can now be seen on the new site.
In addition to its search capabilities, the VITA site provides for visitors to forward entries in the form of an email postcard and add input through comments. There is also the opportunity to help solve “Mysteries” such as by dating or otherwise identifying an item.
Funding for the two students involved was provided by a Cobourg Community Grant and two federal programs, Canada Summer Jobs and Young Canada Works in Heritage Organizations. The new site can be visited at:
It's not too early, is it, to be thinking about Christmas giving? we think not and have a selection of interesting and inexpensive items, including books, which would make fine gifts.
You can see some of the items and all of the books on the Gift Shop pages
on our website. Come in person and we'll give you a discount of at least 10%!