Tuesday, June 28, 2011

International Gathering of the Clans - Part 2

The weekend that has just passed saw the official opening of the International Gathering of the Clans in Annapolis Royal. The streets of this old town were reverberating with the sound of bagpipes on many occasions over the three days that the Scots were in town. For those of us who like the bagpipes, this was a wonderful occurrence. For those who do not like the pipes, I hope that they could find a place to enjoy the fun somewhere out of earshot.

The images in this post were gathered at some of the weekend's events. They include the official opening and activities at the Legion on Saturday. For those who are wondering, these events were originally planned for Fort Anne but they were moved inside when the weather looked uncooperative. Despite the weather, Mayann Francis, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, graciously opened the celebrations and cut the cake. The cake itself was appropriately decorated to look like a Nova Scotia flag.

Other events in this collection include the Scotch and Thistles evening at the Historic Gardens and the tree dedication at the O'Dell House Museum. The oak tree at the museum will be the lasting symbol of the International Gathering of the Clans coming to Annapolis Royal. We have already started to refer to this tree as the Scots Oak. One of the organizers told me that she hopes that it grows strong and tall so that many future events can be held in its shadow. That sounds like a pretty good aspiration.

I would like to thank all of our community partners as well as the Federation of Nova Scotia Clans and the International Gathering of the Clans organizers for their roles in this event. Hopefully we can host part of this event when it comes back four years from now.

All for now,

Thursday, June 23, 2011

International Gathering of the Clans

It looks like we will once again be having a busy weekend in Annapolis Royal. For those of us who like the pageantry of kilts and bagpipes or the gentle taste of haggis and whisky, this should be a highlight of the summer. From June 24 -26 our community is hosting the opening ceremonies for the 2011 International Gathering of the Clans. This should be a good weekend with events being held throughout the town.

On Friday things get underway with a kilted golf tournament at the Annapolis Royal Golf Club. This will be followed on Saturday morning with a pipe band street parade along St George Street. From there the action moves to the Legion where Birgitta Wallace-Ferguson will be discussing her archaeological discovery of the remains of the 1629-1632 Scottish settlement of Charles Fort in Annapolis Royal. After this presentation there will be Scottish cultural activities at Fort Anne throughout the afternoon. The furry haggis toss may well be the highlight of the afternoon. The day finishes with an event called Scotch and Thistles at the Historic Gardens. On Sunday morning there will be a Kirking of the Tartans at St Luke's Anglican Church followed by a tree planting and dedication at the O'Dell House Museum in the afternoon. Since we are hosting the tree planting, I would obviously encourage everyone to attend the dedication and see the museum's new oak tree.

The photographs in this post are of the National Historic Site monument to Charles Fort. Located on the site now known as Fort Anne, Charles Fort was established by Sir William Alexander (the younger) in 1629. His appearance in the new world was part of an attempt to establish a Scottish colony based on a Royal charter of 1621. An original copy of the charter is on permanent exhibit in the museum at Fort Anne. It is this document, written in Latin, that gives the name to Nova Scotia or, as the English would say, New Scotland. While the settlement only lasted until 1632, this marked the beginning of a Scottish presence in Nova Scotia.

All for now,

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

John Ritchie House, Lequille - Part 1

It feels like it has been a while since I have written about a local building being torn down. For those of us concerned with the preservation of our local built heritage, that is a very good thing. It is always hard to see a building that has graced our landscape for an extended period of time get pulled down. Well, my peace of mind came to an end on a rainy day at the end of last week.

Just off of Highway 201 in Lequille sits a small saltbox style house. I have driven by this house countless times as I make my way through the community. I have frequently thought that I should stop and take some pictures because it was obviously an early building. With the saltbox style and timber-framed construction, this had the potential for being a stunning restoration project. While there was potential, the house had been gutted a number of years ago and was essentially sitting in a much deteriorated form.

When I turned the corner onto the 201 and saw this building without its windows and clapboard sheathing, I knew that this was something I needed to immediately document. Camera in hand, I hopped out of my car and went over to see the men working on the house. I politely asked if I could take some pictures. They probably thought that I was nuts because I was wandering around in a torrential rainfall photographing a building that had sat in the same location for 200 years but, I am glad that I got the pictures.

In the coming days I will have more pictures of this house to share. I have an excellent collection that I photographed this morning which will be used in another post so that the deconstruction process is more evident. I will also try to provide some history of the building as well as what I have learned about the future of the frame.

All for now,

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Staff Training

On an early morning toward the end of last week I piled into my car with the Annapolis Heritage Society's summer employees for a trip to Freeport. With a Coffee in my hand, we made our way through Digby and headed down the neck. While it would have been nice to spend a day of exploring Digby Neck and Long Island, ours was a trip of education rather than edification. We were on our way to the Digby Annapolis Museums Committee (DAM Committee for those who enjoy a good acronym) summer staff training day. When we pulled onto the boat at the appropriately named East Ferry, we met the staffs from the Admiral Digby Museum and the Annapolis Valley McDonald Museum. Together we made a convoy down the length of Long Island to Islands Museum Archives in Freeport.

We have organized this combined training session on a number of occasions through the years. The general idea is to provide our summer employees with a day where we can discuss topics like deportment, artifact handling, a history of the area, and how to handle research requests. The benefit of a combined session is that we can draw upon the combined experience of all of the Curators in the room. This type of training day also allows the students to meet some of the other people who are spending their summer working in a local museum.

In the top image you can find the AHS summer staff for 2011. Alisha McCorriston, who is sitting on the left, has just begun her while Isaac Keoughan is now in his second summer. You will be able to find these two working at the O'Dell House Museum, Sinclair Inn Museum as well as in the AHS Genealogy Centre and Archives. Please pay us a visit to see if the lessons from this training day had their intended effect. The remainder of images in this post were taken in East Ferry while we were waiting for the boat.

All for now,

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Heritage In Unusual Places - Highlights

It has been a busy Heritage in Unusual Places weekend in Annapolis Royal. We have had tours, concerts, opportunities to meet local craftspeople and a few surprises. Since I have been in program delivery mode, I have not really had the opportunity to digest all of the events. We had a very successful launch for the most recent book of poetry by the late Eugene Hamm. "Last Words" is a collection compiled from previously unpublished manuscripts. Combined with a new section of our Eugene Hamm wood carving exhibit, this was a nice celebration of his life and talents.

Saturday saw the introduction of Wilfrid Cartier, a new character created by the Annapolis Heritage Society. Portrayed by Isaac Keoughan, Cartier is a combination of traveling medicine show and gentle history lesson. This weekend he was selling peace, order and good government but, I believe that suffrage and the temperance movement are in his future.

After this weekend one thing is for certain. I have decided that I need to write a full post on Jon Gray at some point in the future. Jon's shoemaking shop was one of the open house destinations in today's schedule. I was truly impressed by the quality and beauty of the shoes crafted by Jon. The images in this post were all taken this weekend. When I get a chance to gather my thoughts I will post a more complete review of the weekend.

All for now,

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Another Helping of Hamm

As part of the upcoming Heritage in Unusual Places festival, we will be holding a combined book launch and exhibit viewing at the O'Dell House Museum on Friday, June 10 at 8:00pm. Both the launch and the viewing feature work by the late poet and wood carver Eugene Hamm. For the better part of a year we have had an exhibit at the museum entitled From a Humble Block of Wood which features some of the multitude of carvings done by Mr Hamm. This week we are bringing out the remainder of the collection for a short showing we have dubbed A Second Helping of Hamm. For the remainder of the month of June the two front galleries on the second floor of the museum will be dedicated to the work of this impressive folk artist.

In addition to his carvings, Eugene Hamm was also a prolific poet. During his life he published 22 volumes of poetry plus a children's book entitled Wanderina. Members of Mr Hamm's family have gathered unpublished material written toward the end of his life to produce a new volume called "Last Words". Friday night will be the official launch for this book. Please join us for this celebration of the talents of a very creative and highly productive individual.

All for now,

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Heritage In Unusual Places

I am doing something that I rarely do with this blog but, it seems to be the appropriate treatment to introduce this topic. Next weekend will be the inaugural Heritage in Unusual Places festival in Annapolis Royal. There is going to be a full weekend of heritage based activities taking place in many different locations around the community. While I don't usually include a press release in the blog, it seems to capture some of the spirit that we are hoping to create with Heritage in Unusual Places. A PDF of the full schedule can be found in the hyperlink at the top of this post. As the week goes along, I will doubtlessly be giving additional information on individual elements of the weekend. By the way, thanks should be given to Jim Todd for the great artwork for the festival.

All for now,

Have you ever experienced Heritage in Unusual Places? This will be the question as a new festival is unveiled in Annapolis Royal from June 10th to 13th. While Annapolis Royal has a reputation as a heritage-minded town, there are still some stories that are not told on a regular basis. “People are quite familiar with coming to a museum to learn about their heritage” says Ryan Scranton, Executive Director of the Annapolis Heritage Society. “While we love to see people come through our doors, we are not the only keepers of heritage in our community. Heritage also resides with the traditional trades and craftspeople, with musician, story tellers and other caretakers of our intangible history”.

The Heritage in Unusual Places Festival will feature opportunities to experience heritage in places people do not normally think to look. A handful of guided tours will provide peeks into forgotten elements of the Annapolis Royal region’s history. These tours will explore the history of fires in Annapolis Royal, the secrets of the Granville Road, the Bay of Fundy shore and the horticultural heritage of our region. There will also be opportunities to visit facilities like the Annapolis Royal Boat Haul-up and John Gray Bespoke where fine handmade shoes are crafted. These are prime examples of people who make their living using traditional skills and techniques.

“We will also be introducing a new character to the streets of Annapolis Royal during the festival” said Scranton. “We have created a person called Wilfrid Cartier who we are calling an ‘Uncle of Confederation’. He will be making a number of spontaneous appearances through the weekend but, the plan is to have him become a regular feature in Annapolis Royal this summer”. Patterned somewhere between a traveling salesman and a carnival barker, Cartier, who is played by Isaac Keoughan, will be selling various historical concepts. “During the festival he will be trying to sell Peace, Order and Good Government but, we plan to have him branch into temperance, women’s suffrage and other topics as the summer progresses”.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Visit to the Historic Gardens

After my trip to the Annapolis Royal Farmers Market this morning, I met Trish Fry, Manager of the Historic Gardens and a fellow photographer, for a trip through the Gardens. It is fun to wander through this sort of facility with another shutterbug because they tend to look at the world in a unique way. I have found that people who spend a great deal of time with a camera tend to develop a very good eye for detail. These people often see things that could easily be overlooked by those going about their daily lives. I know that I certainly look at the world a bit differently when I have a camera in my hands.

While I have said it before, we are incredibly lucky to have a facility like the Historic Gardens in Annapolis Royal.

All for now,