|Lucy Maud Montgomery and Bala / Jack Hutton & Linda Jackson-Hutton|
Gravenhurst, ON: Watts Printing, c1998
In any case, a little later on, this couple dropped off a copy of this charming book for me. I was completely surprised by this generosity, and delighted to read the story of Jack and Linda Hutton, who started a private museum, Bala's Museum, in 1992. It celebrates Maud's visit and holds family events and gatherings focused on her writing. You can find a brief precis of some of the history of the museum, which is shared in this book, on their website as well.
While the book seems short, only 86 pages, it is also jam-packed with the story of how Jack and Linda met, married and decided to start an independent museum based on the short, one-time visit that Maud made to Bala. It also looks at the story of Maud's writing life and her celebrity; there is a chapter all about John Mustard; and some contributions by or about contemporary Maud scholars and aficionados, like Mary Rubio or Jean Little.
It also has a load of wonderful photos of the Montgomery family, of the Huttons and the museum, and of the glorious landscape of Bala. The back cover is a map attempting to trace the movements of Valancy Stirling and Barney Snaith, of The Blue Castle, a route you can follow yourself if you're inclined to take a driving tour.
It's a charming, homey book, with lots of pure joy in it. You can tell the authors love LMM and the history of the area, and that they have created this still-active museum out of passion. I've only been up to Gravenhurst once, and thought it was lovely, and now that I know all about this nearby LMM location, I'm going to have to go back. This was a delightful read.