Go Behind the Bars This Summer

July 29, 2014

The Huron Historic Gaol’s popular Behind the Bars program has returned this year on Tuesday and Thursday evenings July 10th to August 28th in Goderich. Visitors will meet volunteers portraying real prisoners and staff from the gaol’s past, as they make their way through this National Historic Site for an interactive evening tour.

Experience the true stories of the Huron Historic Gaol (Jail), as told by the prisoners and staff that lived, worked, and died there between the years of 1841 and 1913. Meet some of the lunatics, thieves and vagrants that occupied the cells at 181 Victoria Street North, and ask them about their time behind the bars.

There are new characters that visitors may encounter and have the opportunity to interact with on this self-guided tour. You can learn about what life was like behind the bars from the gaol’s long-time matron, Margaret Dickson. Hear the story of a man with alcoholism, committed for manslaughter. Talk to a young boy who stole a pig in order to feed his family. Ask an insane woman why her husband proclaimed that she as a lunatic. Meet the surgeon who worked on-call at the Gaol for almost 20 years. Find out why a teenage maidservant from Stratford spent a week in gaol, and help another teenage prisoner plan his imminent escape over the gaol walls.

Visiting hours for Behind the Bars are 7 to 9 PM with the last entry at 8 PM. Visitors are encouraged to leave at least 45 minutes to meet as many faces of the gaol as possible.

Special admission for this event is $10 for adults, $5 for children and $25 for a family (prices include tax). Children under 5 are free!

The Huron Historic Gaol is located at the corner of Victoria Street North (Highway 21) & Gloucester Terrace in Goderich. It operated as a county jail from 1841 until 1972, and is now a designated National Historic Site. Look for the large road sign on Highway 21.

The Gaol’s regular hours are Monday to Saturday from 10 AM to 4:30 PM and Sundays 1 to 4:30 PM. You can find out more information about Behind the Bars, and other summer activities at the Huron Historic Gaol by calling 519.524.6971.

Visit our website at www.huroncounty.ca/museum or find us on social media at facebook.com/huroncountymuseum or on Twitter @hcmuseum. For event updates follow the hashtag #BTB2014.


Our media contact for this item is Madelaine Higgins, Museum Assistant Student at 519.524.6971 OR Elizabeth French-Gibson, Assistant Curator at 519.524.2686, ext 205.


For more information contact:

Susan Cronin, County Clerk
519.524.8394 (ext 3257)