Taking Tea

February through August 2020, Eldon House Second Floor

The Harris Family of Eldon House frequently refer to “taking tea” in their letters and diaries as it was an important staple for their diets and social lives. Three generations of Harris women refer not only to tea, but also the interesting discussions and practices that resulted from the occasions. This exhibition explores the tea practice of a variety of cultures and how the inhabitants of London Ontario integrated the customs practices in Britain into their own lives. Artifacts from the Eldon House Collection will illustrate the vast paraphernalia used in enacting elaborate teas and will be accompanied by first person accounts of Londoners during the Victorian period.

The World in Miniature

February through June 2020, Eldon House Second Floor

When the Harris family traveled around the world in 1897, they collected hundreds of cultural treasures. Pottery, porcelain, ethnographic objects and ivory carvings made up only a few of the many items of interest that the family brought back to Canada, effectively creating a “walk in” curio cabinet of their home. This exhibition displays several miniscule and elaborate pieces, often unseen by the public and will illustrate the Victorian partiality for curios.

Natural History: Fossils to Feathers

July 2020 through January 2021, Second Floor Eldon House

Natural history is the research and study of organisms including plants or animals in their environment. Until well into the nineteenth century, knowledge was considered by Europeans to have two main divisions: the humanities (including theology), and studies of nature. In modern terms natural history included the biological and geological sciences. Individual “Natural History” collections, also known at times as “Cabinets of Curiosities” encouraged systematic study of nature, eventually leading to the subdivision of the sciences. Ronald Harris of Eldon House had a keen interest in articles of natural history; it was he who is responsible for the wide array of weaponry and game trophies in museums collection. As a mining engineer, Ronald travelled widely and collected many exotic and unique natural objects, which are the focus of this exhibit.

Kitsch: Pleasing Victorian Excess

September 2020 through January 2021, Eldon House Interpretive Centre

One of the hallmarks of any Victorian home was the “overstuffed” character of its interior. Bric a Brac, whatnots and extensive furniture and accessory detailing were all thrown together to create eclectic dwelling spaces – to the chagrin of the maids set to dust them! This exhibit features several of the more elaborate and excessive pieces in the Eldon House collection, illustrating the Victorian taste for extreme detail.

The Harris Family Abroad

Through 2020, Second Floor, Eldon House

Through 1897 and 1898 the Harris Family of Eldon House went on an 11-month “world tour” traveling through Japan, China, Burma, India, Egypt, Palestine, into Europe and England. Not only did they bring back innumerable of souvenir’s which give Eldon House it’s unique character, they also returned with hundreds of photographs. This exhibit aims to illustrate the locations explored on the family’s “Grand Tour” while also focusing on “Canadian’s Abroad” at the end of the Victorian Era.