Lillian's Museum

M'Chigeeng

A stone’s throw from the OCF, around the corner and east on Hwy 540, is the unmissable Lillian’s Museum, a dedicated space attached to Lillian’s Crafts’ large shop that holds owner Lillian Debassige’s prized 70-odd-year-old collection of Anishinaabe arts and crafts.

A big room is arrayed from floor to ceiling in unique pieces of local Anishinaabe art dating back to the 1940s: rare ash baskets woven with consummate dexterity and intricate quill boxes with lifelike animals and plants tufted in quills by artists Anne Pangowish, Rose Williams, Josette Debassige, Mildred and Melanie Aguonie and many others whose work is preserved here for posterity.

The distinctive and highly collectable paintings of Wiikwemkoong artist Leland Bell line the back wall; ceramic bowls, beaded hide moccasins with fur trim and skillful carvings of antler and bone, going back many decades, line glass cases. Lillian’s collection is far reaching but intimate, inviting viewers to appreciate the age-old techniques, materials and designs used in the creation of these cultural treasures.

Lillian’s Museum: 5950 Hwy. 540, M’Chigeeng, Tel.: 705-377-4987. Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 am to 6 pm; Saturday 9 am to 5 pm; Sunday 10 am to 5 pm. Admission by donation. http://lilliansindiancrafts.com

Article by

Isobel Harry

Isobel Harry

Isobel Harry is a photographer and writer who has also worked extensively in the field of human rights advocacy. Her photos have been widely exhibited and she has published articles in many magazines; as programmes director and executive director for PEN Canada for twenty years, she worked on behalf of the right to freedom of expression internationally. Now living on Manitoulin Island, Isobel works as a freelance writer and photographer and is a frequent contributor to the weekly Manitoulin Expositor newspaper and the annual This is Manitoulin magazine. Her interests lie at the intersection of arts, culture and human rights.

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