Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Trip to Yarmouth

I took a little bit of a trip today. This morning three of us from the museum piled into the car and headed for Yarmouth. The main purpose of this trip was to get some paperwork at the Canadian customs office figured out. The reason for this tiptoe through the paperwork was that the Annapolis Heritage Society has recently purchased a fairly exciting 18th century artifact. This artifact has been detained at the border. Thanks to a couple of customs officers who got quite excited about what we had purchased, we were able to get the package cleared for entry. Sometime within the next week it should arrive at the O'Dell House Museum. You will note that I have not mentioned what the exciting artifact is. This exciting piece of information about a piece of Annapolis Royal heritage coming home will need to wait for another post.

While we were in Yarmouth, we decided to call on our friends at the Yarmouth County Museum. I have always enjoyed this museum. It is probably the largest community museum in the province and there is little doubt in my mind that they have the best collection storage facility of any museum in Nova Scotia. For the museum nerds among us, a nice collections facility is an exciting thing. One of the reasons I enjoy stopping at the Yarmouth County Museum is that there is always something new to see. In addition to their collections storage, I envy the amount of space they have for mounting displays and showing artifacts. Not many other sites have the space to display a stagecoach inside the building. Our final museum related stop was at the house of YCM's Curator Emeritus Eric Ruff. In the world of Nova Scotia heritage, Eric has been one of the forces of good for a long time. I always enjoy sitting down to a cup of tea (it really was tea this time) with Eric to catch up on things. As a curator, I also enjoy listening to his stories of operating a community museum for 31 years.

Toward the end of the day we took some time to wander the streets of Yarmouth and look at the wonderful collection of heritage buildings. If your taste in houses leans toward late Victorian, you really should take a trip to Yarmouth. This community was at its economic peak in the last decades of the twentieth century. With an impressive amount of shipping, fishing and shipbuilding activity, there was money to construct elaborate houses. Luckily, many of these houses still grace the streets. It is fun to wander around and look at the different examples of gingerbread molding, decorative shingles and other Victorian touches.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was while we were on our way home. One of my travelling companions requested a stop at a service station. When we pulled into the parking lot we were greeted by a flock of ducks. While they are pretty to watch, they were so tame that I assume that they have been living off handouts from the fast food restaurant next door.

All for now,

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