Located in the heart of Oxford County’s idyllic Thames River valley, Beachville District Museum is home to thousands of artifacts representing the history of Beachville and the surrounding area.
The first storey of the house, which is now the main building of Beachville District Museum, was built by Philander King in 1851. The Downing family took up residence there in 1880 and soon became a fixture in the community, playing a pioneering role in the development of Beachville’s famous limestone quarries. A second storey and new façade were added in 1902. The Downings continued to live in the house until 1969, when it was sold to the American Cyanimid Co. The site has been home to Beachville District Museum since 1992.
Beachville District Museum features a wide variety of temporary and permanent exhibits that showcase different aspects of the region’s history. The main floor includes a restored Victorian-era salon chronicling the Downing family history, displays on the first recorded baseball game in North America (played in Beachville in 1838), authentic mastodon bones, rare rocks, and locally-manufactured 19th-century pump organs.
Upstairs, exhibits include a toy room, a restored bedroom, a replica general store, a sewing room, and a replica quarry office detailing the history of lime in Beachville and the Downing family’s involvement in this important industry. Visitors are free to stroll around the museum grounds and can tour agricultural complexes, loaded with artifacts ranging from wooden lathes and old bank safes to threshing machines and forges.
Museum events include an annual barbeque, held in August of each year, and a museum open house held in early December. In addition, Beachville District Museum hosts a children’s day camp each year throughout July and August.
Beachville District Museum is well worth a visit any time of the year. Visitors leave with rave reviews and you will too!
Things to know before going: