Progress on New Museum for Dressler House

Marie Dressler Foundation is planning an expansion of the museum at Dressler House to include sections for the other two Canadian female Oscar winners: Mary Pickford and Norma Shearer and at Monday’s Council Meeting, the team working on this gave a progress report.  Toronto University agreed to offer the project to students in their Master program for Museum Studies and 5 students accepted: Michelle Wright, Enya Barbeau, Karen Cheung, Natalie Heaton and Emma Myers.  They presented a brief overview of what the museum will look like and talked about the great access they had to experts who are knowledgeable about the two stars plus thousands of artifacts – mostly photographs and film clips.  It appears that this will be the first museum dedicated to these Oscar winners so the artifacts will have a home.

l-r: Enya Barbeau, Michelle Wright, Natalie Heaton, Karen Cheung, Emma Myers
l-r: Enya Barbeau, Michelle Wright, Natalie Heaton, Karen Cheung, Emma Myers

Like the existing Dressler museum, the new museum(s) will make liberal use of iPads and TV screens and will feature interactive components.  The Themes will emphasize not just movies made but also their personal lives and what they worked for.

Major Themes

  • Mary Pickford was instrumental in building early Hollywood.
  • Norma Shearer’s film roles pushed social and gender boundaries.

Their work is expected to be completed by April 2020 with the next step implementation which will hopefully start this summer – although this depends on fundraising and awarding of grants.  The Town recently agreed to a grant of $4000 for this project. Total cost will not be known until the design is complete.


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4 years ago

More money going into something that has not proven to be a huge or interesting success
I would like to see the real $$$ numbers spent on that building over the past 30 yrs
when the Town purchased that burned out building and rebuilt it with Money the late Bill Patchett
raised .

4 years ago

Does anyone know how many people visited the Dressler House in 2019? I very seldom see a car in their parking lot out on the street in front of the house.

Reply to  cornbread
3 years ago

Chamber of commerce should return there, and save money. King street is the place to be, not a secondary street! No rocket science here hell lllllo!

Doug Weldon
4 years ago

I think these things add a dynamic to Cobourg. We have lived many places but when we tell people we live in Cobourg we never get asked: Where? Our small town is well known in many ways.
I would love to see the concert agenda filled up at Victoria Hall. I miss the Jazz, Rock, Folk, Blues and even the Country music concerts that we had in the past. Is the town planning to rehire for a Vic Hall director? It has seemed successful in the past.

Small Town Lover
Reply to  Doug Weldon
4 years ago

Cobourg is known for its beach that is why it is well recognized. Very few people know who Marie Dressler is. Mary Pickford yes.
I agree we should have a bigger concert agenda. We have beautiful Victoria Hall and it would be wonderful to see it used often.
We shouldn’t have to drive all the way to Toronto or even Peterborough to see and enjoy a concert. Blue Rodeo performed in Peterborough why not here? Someone just needs to try and make it happen. I am pretty sure very few people if any would drive here just to see the Marie Dressler House.

Reply to  Small Town Lover
4 years ago

Blue Rodeo did perform here. A successful concert at the CCC.

Lesley Myers
4 years ago

So looking forward to the expansion of the Museum and the inclusion of these women.

4 years ago

Interesting and extensive bio of Norma Shearer on Wikipedia, including references to her connections to both Marie Dressler and Katharine Cornell.

Reply to  JimT
3 years ago

Cornell lived here at least…