The Oxford Museum was a ‘test case’ being the first facility in the Province to receive government aid through the Royal Ontario Museum extension service to promote the use of museums to schools throughout the province by the Department of Education of Ontario. This was to become the basis of a province wide system of county museums that would play an important role in the educational and cultural life of their communities, showcasing history, geography, industry, agriculture and science.
The ‘new’ Oxford Museum came about after several interested citizens resolved to find a better space to house the collection of pioneer relics and artifacts that had been accumulated and carefully maintained in the basement of the court house by Miss Louise Hill, a descendent of one of the first families in Woodstock. She was the instigator of the move and the 1st curator of the museum. Miss Effie Nesbitt was her assistant and would later become curator. Ross Butler was the 1st President and manager of the Oxford Museum, with Craig McKay, KC, as vice-president. Other prominent names associated with these efforts were Ray Schell, C.G. Kinsey, Mr. & Mrs. Herbert Milnes and Mr. & Mrs. M. Smith.
E.C. Cross of the Royal Ontario Museum paid tribute to the site and location of the Oxford Museum in the venerable Old Town Hall and the efforts of the Oxford Historical and Museum Society. Staff from the ROM helped to organize and set up the displays and exhibits. A collection of mounted birds was given by the Zoology department of the ROM as part of the Natural History section which was administered by renowned Canadian Naturalist, Herbert Milnes, who would be curator for many years. The University of Western Ontario Archaeology department donated Indian artifacts. There were also displays reflecting local industry, agriculture and pioneer life. The museum became the focal point of the community and received national attention on radio and wire service.
-'Ross Butler Studio,' Agricultural Art Gallery Archives
- including newspaper clippings from the Sentinel-Review and London Free Press, 1946-1948."