Monday, February 28, 2011

Late Victorian Men - Part 3

Last spring I wrote a short series of posts featuring portrait photographs from the late Victorian period. Since it has been a while since I visited this topic I figured that this cold and rainy night would be good time to dip into the big bag of Victorian portraits. To quell the obvious alarm rising in the minds of my archival brethren, let me assure you that this is a metaphorical bag of portraits. All of these portraits come from the Annapolis Heritage Society archival collection.

I quite honestly enjoy these images. The faces are familiar yet the clothing and hair styles are wildly different from what you would expect to see on the streets of Annapolis Royal today. Admittedly, I would be thrilled to see an impressive set of mutton chops walk through the door at the O'Dell House Museum but, I am not expecting it any time soon. Nevertheless, there is an appealing dignity in these images.

All for now,
RGS






Sunday, February 27, 2011

Not Quite the Image of the Day - Part 2

If for no other reason Project 365 has been useful in forcing me to get my camera out to take some pictures on days I may have easily decided to leave it in the bag. In some ways I find that I pay more attention to the scenery around me when I know that, at some point in the day, I need to snap a few pictures. I have found myself scouting out potential locations and mentally filing them for a time when a photograph does not naturally present itself. By the end of the year I may need to call upon these locations. From a perspective of documenting the ongoing activities of Annapolis Royal the more pictures and locations the better.

I have equally found myself amassing a collection of images which have not been used as the 365 image of the day. Thankfully there is a blog to soak up some of these excess pictures. These are not necessarily bad pictures but, for one reason or another, were not selected for their particular day. In some cases I have actually liked one of the culled images more than the selected image but, the actual 365 image may have been more representative of what was happening in the Annapolis Royal area on that day. In other cases I may have used a similar photograph in the official list already. The collection of images in this post were taken during the month of February.

All for now,
RGS














Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Historic Gardens are Number 1

There are a couple of reasons for today's post. Primarily this is a way to say congratulations to our friends at the Historic Gardens who are rated as Nova Scotia's top destination on the travel website TripAdvisor. The secondary reason is that I appreciate the excuse to post images of flowers in the middle of February. This splash of colour seems very cheerful while we are still in the grip of winter.

I have said on many occasions that those of us who live in the Annapolis Royal area are incredibly lucky to have a facility like the Historic Gardens. There are very few places where you can leisurely wander through beauty and history as you can at the Gardens. This is indeed a world class facility nestled in our little town. Congratulations to the staff, board and volunteers of the Historic Gardens for this much deserved recognition.

All for now,
RGS





Monday, February 21, 2011

Heritage Days 2011 - Monday

Today was the final day of our Heritage Days 2011 festivities. We ended up back where we began on Friday night with a presentation on archaeology at St Luke's Church Hall. This time Rebecca Duggan, an Archaeologist for Parks Canada was discussing the archaeology of Fort Anne. This was a very interesting presentation (complete with a number of 17th and 18th century maps of Port Royal / Annapolis Royal I had not previously seen).

I was also interested to see the box of archaeological artifacts that she had brought with her. I am very happy whenever someone comes bearing a box full of Annapolis Royal artifacts. The box contained objects ranging from pre-contact Mi'Kmaq ceramics and clay pipes to a metal lock and a wonderful 18th century wine bottle. I always find it exciting to see artifacts that were used in our community hundreds of years ago. From the way people in the audience rushed to the display table at the end of the proceedings, I guess that I am not the only one.

All for now,
RGS







Sunday, February 20, 2011

Heritage Days 2011 - Saturday

Annapolis Royal's Heritage Days 2011 continued with events at the Historic Gardens and Fort Anne National Historic Site on Saturday. The national theme for Heritage Day this year is parks and landscapes so it would be difficult to find more appropriate locations to hold events than the Gardens and Fort Anne. In addition to being breathtakingly beautiful, the Gardens interpret the history of the Annapolis Royal region through their plantings. Here you can experience plants and landscapes as they would have looked over the past four centuries and beyond.

As for Fort Anne, I can only speak of the exceptional nature of this site. From use as a pre-contact Mi'Kmaw encampment site to use for Champlain's wheat fields to the establishment of Scottish, French (Acadian) and British populations in Nova Scotia this has been a busy piece of land. This is the most fought over site in Canada, our oldest National Historic Site and the location for many civic events to this day.

Ok, enough with setting the stage. Things got rolling on Saturday morning with the Winter Farmers Market at the Historic Gardens. Snowshoes were available to anyone who wanted to explore the property. At the Maison acadienne, there were costumed interpreters discussing Acadian history. It was quite fun to be inside a house built based on the archaeological evidence discussed at the presentation on Friday evening. It was also a great treat to see the clay oven of this reproduction of a 1670s style dwelling in use. Bread was baking and a small cook fire allowed those with a more modern taste to roast a marshmallow.

In the afternoon the focus of activity shifted to Fort Anne. Sadly, by this point in the day the weather was starting to conspire against us with a mix of rain and hail starting to fall. Despite the elements a few hardy souls arrived to enjoy the fort grounds. I was quite happy about this because I have always felt that the recreation element of Heritage Days was a key to it's success. The ramparts at Fort Anne have been used as a sledding destination for generations of local children. Once the children started to tire of running up and down the hills there were snowshoes and kicksleds to try. Finally a snow fort was made before everyone retired into the Officer's Quarters for hot chocolate and cookies. All in all a fun way to experience some historic landscapes.

All for now,
RGS




Saturday, February 19, 2011

Post # 500

I usually try to avoid being too self indulgent in the pages of this blog but, something tells me that I merit a bit of indulgence today. While I find it difficult to believe, this is actually post #500 of the Annapolis Royal Heritage Blog. As visitors to the O'Dell House Museum have often heard me say, "we are a small community but, we have a lot of history". Since October of 2008 I have tried to use this blog to provide information about the historic events, activities, and people of the Annapolis Royal region. There has been a mix of the ongoing life of our community with historical images brought forth from the AHS Archives. There have been some celebrations and some occasions to mourn. Hopefully this material has been presented with some levity and humour in addition to the cold hard facts. It has been an interesting ride with some lessons learned about how history, even the history of a small town, can play a role in the age of social media. I would like to thank all of the people who have taken the time to read, comment, distribute or otherwise enjoy the blog. Your feedback and ideas are appreciated.

For this festive occasion I have brought back one of my favorite historic images. This carte de visite is a photograph I purchased at the Annapolis Royal Farmer's Market a few years ago. The image was taken in Saint John, New Brunswick and does not have connection to Annapolis Royal that I know of. I have encapsulated this photograph in Mylar and I keep it mounted on the wall by my desk at work. I have done this so that I am never the most crazy person at the museum.

All for now,
RGS

Friday, February 18, 2011

Heritage Days 2011 - Friday

Today was the first day of Annapolis Royal's Heritage Days for 2011. Personally, I could not have thought of a better way to start the festivities than with a presentation by Dr. Marc Lavoie from Universite Ste Anne and Robert Surette. Seeing as the national Heritage Day theme this year is Parks and Landscapes, the organizing committee decided that we wanted to feature a handful of our local historic landscapes. Tonight the Belleisle Marsh, which was a site of Acadian settlement until the 1755 deportation, was the topic. Mr. Surette, who was was part of the group who worked to have the site protected under the Nova Scotia Special Places Act, gave an introduction to the site and provided the audience with some background. I have been lucky enough to hear Dr. Lavoie speak on a number of occasions and I always enjoy the experience. He is decidedly passionate about what he does and he has a knack of presenting new and interesting information. Perhaps this is the role of the archaeologist. When you spend much of your time surrounded by history as I do, it is very nice to hear new information or a fresh take on a topic. There were a number of times tonight where I found myself thinking "I didn't know that". I could not ask for much more.

Dr. Lavoie is featured in the pictures at the top and bottom of this post. The other images are of Alan Melanson from our sister organization the Historical Association of Annapolis Royal and Robert Surette. On Saturday Heritage Days move to the Historic Gardens in the morning. Alan will be dressed in costume and interpreting la maison acadienne. In the afternoon from 2-4 there will be various outdoor activities at Fort Anne National Historic Site.

All for now,
RGS