The Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre is set to become the home for all artefacts and related materials from the HMS General Hunter shipwreck project.
The museum says in a statement artefacts found on the wreck have been the responsibility of marine archaeologist Ken Cassavoy until now, who held them in trust for the people of Ontario.
The shipwreck hull was discovered buried on the Southampton Beach in 2002 and fully excavated in 2004.
Cassavoy was the provincial licence-holder for the archaeological investigation of the shipwreck and directed the excavation work. He is pleased with the official transfer agreement which he and the museum have worked on for years.
"This means the collection of artefacts from our rare Royal Navy shipwreck, along with all the excavation and research documents, wreck plans, photographs and all other visual and physical materials will continue to be available to the general public, historians and researchers for all time," Cassavoy says. "I know the General Hunter collection will be both appreciated and protected in the professional and very capable hands of the museum staff."
According to information provided by the Bruce County Museum, the HMS General Hunter was a British Navy warship built in Amherstburgh on the Detroit River. It came into the Upper Great Lakes transport and patrol service in 1806. The ship played an active role in the War of 1812 as part of the British/Canadian squadron on the Upper Great Lakes.
HMS General Hunter took part in numerous engagements in the war, including the capture of Detroit. It was eventually lost to the U.S. Navy in the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813.
The story of the ship after the War of 1812 is that of a U.S. Army transport vessel. It came ashore in a violent Lake Huron gale on Aug. 19, 1816.
The shipwreck hull is still buried under the protective sands of Southampton Beach and marked with a large descriptive plaque, to serve as a headstone on the grave of the HMS General Hunter.
Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre Director Cathy McGirr says much of the HMS General Hunter collection material has been in the museum's hands for years, with artefacts on display in a series of exhibits since 2005. However, the former transfer required approval of the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture, which came on May 11.
The physical transfer of remaining materials is expected to take place over the next year.