Leave this fast-paced life behind and enter the world of the 1840's at the elegant Matheson House, home of the Perth Museum. Located in the heart of downtown heritage Perth [11 Gore Street East], this stone dwelling was declared a National Historic Site in 1966. Four period rooms reflect the lifestyle of the well-to-do Scottish merchant, the Honourable Roderick Matheson, and his family, who owned the house for 90 years.

Roderick Matheson came to Canada from Scotland at the age of 13. After serving in the War of 1812, he moved to Perth as a half pay officer and established the mercantile business now known as Shaw's of Perth. In 1840 he built this fine Georgian home of local sandstone where he and his second wife raised twelve children. By 1860 he was a wealthy man owning 8,000 acres of land in and around Lanark County including 20 houses in Perth. Matheson was a staunch Tory all his life and when his friend John A. MacDonald formed his first government in 1867, he was named to the Dominion Senate.

As a tribute to Roderick, one of Perth's most influential citizens, the Matheson House was bought in 1966 by the Town of Perth, and restored to its original splendour. The museum, which was founded in 1925, was then moved to these premises.

The house contains 4 period rooms. The dining room, parlour, kitchen and drawing room all contain furniture of the time period, much of it original Matheson pieces that have been carefully restored to present the very elegant surroundings the Mathesons would have no doubt enjoyed. The dining room contains a 52 piece set of handpainted china from England as well as other pieces of china and silver belonging to the Mathesons and other notable families of early Perth.

The drawing room, laid out in classical Georgian style, has many unique architectural elements. This was the room dedicated to entertaining frequent visitors, whereas the parlour/library was used as the family room. It is furnished with books and games, framed photographs, a papier mache sewing basket and other examples of everyday family life in the 19th century. Just down the hall is the warm and welcoming 1840's kitchen with its large stone fireplace. Many visitors call the kitchen their favourite room.

The museum features a full calendar of changing exhibitions in the main gallery, while Perth's colourful past is chronicled in the third floor gallery. Highlights include a pre-settlement exhibit of the area's first inhabitants; an 1815 Scottish handbill advertising land in Perth; the pistols from the "Last Fatal Duel" that took place in 1833; a piece of the Mammoth Cheese that won first prize at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893; a display on the fabulous Marks Brothers, the Canadian Kings of Repertoire from 1870 to 1920; an exact miniature replica of the house and much more. [courtesy former curator - Susan McNichol]

Outside the Museum

Outdoors visitors can rest a moment under the shady maple and enjoy the tranquillity of the charming Scottish garden.

If you want to learn more about plants in and around Perth, David J. White has assembled a very comprehensive list for Lanark County

An outdoor bake oven and kitchen herb garden can be found in the courtyard on the other side of the museum, where special events are held during the summer.

News Releases and Announcements

The Perth Museum Calendar of events:


Please call the Perth Museum at (613) 267-1947 , or email perthmuseum@town.perth.on.ca for information.


See also Origin and Development of the Perth Museum.


Step into the Past at the Perth Museum

Karen Rennie: Curator

Matheson House, c1840, is the home of the Perth Museum and is located in downtown Perth at 11 Gore St. E

This nationally designated historic stone dwelling features 4 period rooms restored to depict the life of a wealthy 19th century family plus two galleries where changing exhibitions are displayed.. The museum is air-conditioned and municipal parking is available. Group tours are welcome. Please call (613) 267-1947 to book your tour.

Monday to Friday            10:00am - 5:00pm.

Saturday and Sundays     1:00pm - 5:00pm

The Perth Museum, founded in 1925, is open year round

For more information on the museum or to contact the Museum visit the

        Matheson House Web Page.