Sunday, March 14, 2010

1759 "Anaplus Rial" Powder Horn - Part 2

A short while ago I wrote, quite excitedly, about a powder horn recently purchased by the Annapolis Heritage Society. Including a visit with Canadian Border Services, it was a somewhat twisted path the horn took on its way back to Annapolis Royal. We first learned of the horn back in the summer when it was mentioned in an online article. The article, a review of an antiques show in New Hampshire, just happened to single out the horn as an interesting artifact which was on sale. In fact, the article actually mentioned that the horn had sold at the show.

Now, because the article mentioned Annapolis Royal as the name written on the horn, it came up in the Google Alerts of Anne Crossman, one of the board members of the Annapolis Heritage Society. For those of you unfamiliar with Google Alerts, this is a service which searches the internet and sends out a daily email containing internet postings with selected keywords. Thankfully, Anne had included "Annapolis Royal" in her keywords. The article was a mixed blessing. We now knew that a 1759 Annapolis Royal powder horn existed but we believed that it had been sold.

At this point, Dr. Barry Moody, President of the Annapolis Heritage Society, decided that he was going to take it upon himself to contact the seller to see if we would be able to get some pictures of the horn. He learned that the online article was incorrect and that the horn had not sold. This set the stage for a discussion at an AHS board meeting where we decided that we were interested in purchasing the horn. Our feeling, then as now, was that the horn was an important artifact from our community that we would like to bring back. We struck a deal with the seller and our artifact was on the way back to Annapolis Royal.

As the Tom Petty song says, the waiting is the hardest part. After a couple of weeks it was a letter rather than a powder horn which arrived in our mailbox. The letter told us that the artifact had been detained at the border and we needed to hire a customs broker or get to the nearest customs office to fill out the paperwork ourselves. After waiting for a day with passable weather, a group of us took a road trip to Yarmouth to sort out the paperwork. Our customs agents did not seem that interested in our plight until we explained what the detained artifact actually was. When they heard that we were repatriating an important piece of Nova Scotia history, they really could not have been more helpful. After a few more days of waiting for the powder horn to arrive from its detention centre in Montreal, it arrived in Annapolis Royal where it was unpacked by a very excited Museum Director. I feel privileged to be the first person to see this artifact in the place of its creation since it left in 1759.

All for now,
RGS

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