CENTRAL BEDEQUE — Work is underway to establish a two-storey, 4,000-square foot museum in the historic Callbeck’s Store in Central Bedeque.
There will be three major focal points for the museum: the Howard Clark collection; the Callbeck story; and local area history with a focus on the Loyalist era.
Doug Sobey, Bedeque Area Historical Society, said the idea came about after a group of local people, interested in the history of the area got together with a desire to preserve the area’s history.
“We established an historical society already, two years ago and we want to now have a museum,” he said. “We’ve had work done on it and we just got the open space now to start setting things up. It’s going to feature the Howard Clark collection. Howard Clark had the Red Barn Museum. For 50 years or more he had been collecting material in Chelton which he constructed into a museum.”
Sobey said the Clark collection consist of over 3,000 artifacts.
“That’s the main basis of it,” he said. “The second part is the Callbeck store. It’s going to tell the Callbecks' story. The third aspect that will come in the future is the history of the local area. By the area we should emphasize, it’s not just Bedeque itself. It’s all the way from the Blue Shank Road in Wilmot right through to Kinkora and down to Chelton area and even towards Borden, the whole Bedeque Bay area.”
The Loyalists played a major role in settling the area and Sobey said they will also play a major role in the museum.
“That is certainly, I would say. The important part of the museum but we haven’t got anything on that yet,” he said.
“The Loyalists settled here in 1784 and that is a key history point about the area that we want to include,” he said. “There will be a display of the local area, perhaps temporary displays as well, and the Callbeck Store here. Eventually, the Howard Clark collection will go up in the room upstairs.”
But while the Loyalist era will be a main focus, the museum intends to showcase the entire history of the area.
“The history of the area is very deep,” said William Callbeck. “There was fox ranching and shipbuilding. The Popes were involved in shipbuilding.”
Sobey said the Pope brothers arrived in the area in 1818 to begin building ships.
“That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re in the very early stages of it. We’re interested in both preserving artifacts and objects of the period from the area. Also, information, documents, pictures.”
He said people with artifacts or documents can contact the Bedeque Area Historical Society.
There will be oral histories as well.
Sobey said the museum, in its finished state, will be completed by next summer.
Grants for the project came from the Island Community Fund and Skills P.E.I. Work Experience Program.
Upcoming museum fundraisers:
July 30 -- Boyde Beck from the P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation will give a presentation 7 p.m. in the community room of the William Callbeck Centre. His talk will cover Joseph Pope of Bedeque and his descendants. Admission is free but donations will be accepted to help fund the new museum.
The society’s annual general meeting will take place following Beck’s lecture.
Aug. 6 -- A Loyalist dinner is scheduled for the Bedeque United Church Hall beginning at 6 p.m. featuring Loyalist-themed entertainment.
Aug. 11 -- There will be a boat trip hosted by Brian Lewis aboard Rockin Robin. The trip gets underway at 10 a.m. and runs until 1:30 p.m.
For more information, contact the Bedeque Area Historical Society.