Exploring Down East in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia – Spunky Museums
Updated: Aug 30, 2022
'Muse see ums' spells out how I navigate my way through museums, and for its size (pop. 7,200) Yarmouth does reasonably well with its lineup. The Yarmouth County Museum with its collection of 20,000+ items is the largest, housed in a beautifully renovated former Tabernacle Congregational Church. Among the displays are the first original bulb from the Cape Forchu lighthouse, several intriguing maritime artifacts plus a mysterious runic (?) stone which may be Norse or Japanese or Basque or early Greek or even a hoax. No one knows and the museum isn’t taking sides, even though (ahem) it’s carved in stone.
The Pelton-Fuller House (of Fuller Brush Company fame) next door offers tours with tickets available online.
Yarmouth proudly hosts the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia’s only satellite gallery (the main one being in downtown Halifax). It’s a one room space currently showing the Nova Scotia Art Bank 2020 collection. Outside the gallery entrance, look up and you will see an interesting triptych of many Yarmouth residents along a facing wall. They are almost animated in appearance.
The W. Laurence Sweeney Fisheries Museum sports a scale replica of a coastal freighter pilot house plus a plethora of original items from dockside and industrial buildings dating back to the early 1900s. The museum’s namesake was a keen young businessman who founded Sweeney Fisheries in 1923 while just 19 years old.
Four blocks along Water Street in a former industrial building known as the Killam Heritage Centre another story of 20th century business success played out for fishing and shipping wizard Thomas Killam and his sons in what is now a re-do of their shipping office. The Harbourfront Museum with assorted artifacts also occupies the building.
While downtown head for the Firefighters’ Museum to see how the Number One historic destroyer of buildings (fire) has been fought with ever better machines since the late1800s when firefighters raced through the streets pulling their wagons by hand. There’s enough here to fill a child’s dreams. Fascinating stories too.
Touring tip: Here’s a money-saving idea, especially for families. An annual Nova Scotia Museum Pass is valid for museums across the province.
Photos and text © Gary Crallé 2022 All rights reserved