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Heritage Services Donations and Research

Halton historical picture of military unit from the 19th century

Heritage Services cares for a collection of artifacts and archival materials which are owned by Halton Region. These tangible records of our past are preserved for future generations and used to develop exhibits and programs.

Halton’s heritage collections
Donating artifacts or archival material
Researching Halton’s heritage

Halton's heritage collections

What is the geographical scope of the Halton Region collection?
Items in the collection cover present-day Halton Region and the historic townships of Nelson, Esquesing, Nassagaweya and Trafalgar, which comprised Halton County from 1816 to 1974, after which it was restructured into the Regional Municipality of Halton.

What is in the Halton Region collection?
Halton’s artifact and archival collections are comprised of over 20,000 items of significance to Halton region’s history, culture and heritage.

What kinds of artifacts are in the collection?
The artifact collection, which dates from the pre-contact period before European settlement through to the present day, includes:

  • Jewellery
  • Clothing
  • Textiles
  • Artworks
  • Household furnishings
  • Industrial items
  • Sports equipment
  • Transportation vehicles
  • Communication artifacts
  • Archaeological artifacts
  • Geological specimens

What kinds of archival materials are in the collection?
The archival collection, which dates from the early 1800s through to present day, includes items from Halton organizations and businesses such as:

  • Correspondence
  • Maps
  • Plans
  • Receipts
  • Bills
  • Mortgages
  • Ledgers from the Halton County Courthouse
  • Voters’ lists
  • Account and minute books of local organizations
  • Periodicals
The archive also includes personal items such as:
  • Family papers
  • Family bibles
  • Diaries
  • Letters
  • Postcards
  • Photographs
  • Deeds
  • Indentures

What is Heritage Services collecting now?
At the present time, we are particularly interested in:

  • Artifacts manufactured by or associated with Halton region businesses and organizations including P.L. Robertson, Milton Hardware, Women’s Institutes and the Halton Children’s Aid Society.
  • Personal objects created or owned by people from or currently living in Halton region.
  • Personal & family papers of families and people with a connection to Halton region.
  • Organizational records from groups, clubs, societies or institutes that currently exist or have previously operated within Halton.

Do you accept donations?
Yes. Heritage Services is interested in collecting artifact and archival material that speaks to the history and culture of Halton.

Do you accept all donations?
Not necessarily. Decisions about whether to accept a proposed donation are based on how well the donation would help us meet our objectives to preserve the material and cultural heritage of Halton Region.

Will I receive a tax receipt for my donation?
If you are interested in receiving a tax receipt for your donation, please let us know when proposing it so that we may discuss your options with you.

How does Heritage Services decide which donations to accept?
When you propose a donation, we consider:

  • Whether there are already similar items in the collection and whether the proposed donation would be a better example;
  • What topics, themes and possible exhibits or programs the donation could support;
  • Its physical condition and need for conservation or restoration treatment; and
  • Whether we have the resources to properly care for it.

Ask us about making a donation


Researching Halton’s heritage

Can I do research through Heritage Services?
Yes, by appointment. We offer an on-site reference library and research assistance to genealogists, academic researchers and the general public looking to discover more about the history of Halton region.

What research resources do you offer?
The main focus of the Museum’s library is published and unpublished local historical and genealogical materials. The holdings relate to the modern municipalities of Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton, and Oakville and the historic townships of Nelson, Esquesing, Nassagawaya and Trafalgar. These research files also include family information such as local family trees and biographical material, as well as information on historic places within the region.

Can I borrow materials from your library?
Our collections are non-circulating and must be used on-site.

Can I carry out research in the archives or the artifact collections as well as the library?
Yes, by appointment.

Will you do research for me?
After we receive and review your research request, we will work with you to determine the best way to provide the information you are seeking.

Ask us about research