In advance of closing for the season on Sept. 2, the Bedeque Area Historical Museum is marking a successful summer by having a free open day on Aug. 26, 1-5 p.m.
The normal admission fee of $5 ($4 for seniors) will be waived, with visitors being able to make a donation if they wish.
This is a chance to see the new addition to the museum’s United Empire Loyalist exhibit, which tells the story of the settlement of Loyalist families around Bedeque Bay in 1784, led by William Schurman and Thomas Hooper. The families who arrived with Schurman and Hooper (or followed shortly after) include Anderson, Darby, Green, Lefurgey, Linkletter, MacFarlane, Murray, Silliker, Small, Strang, Waugh and Wright. The exhibit includes maps showing where particular families settled and offers insights as to why they settled in the Bedeque Bay area.
The new Loyalist exhibit also tells the story of the Valley Farm, which has been in the Schurman family since 1839, when it was purchased by Isaac Schurman (a son of William, the Loyalist) for his son, Solomon. The house, which is still lived in, had been built in the 1820s by the previous owner, William Taylor, who operated a mill on the Dunk River. There is a display of objects from the house, and photographs telling the story of the farm, provided by David Schurman, a great-grandson of Solomon.
Other exhibits include a reduced version of “The Borden Ferry – 100” exhibit, which opened in 2017 to mark the centenary of the crossing of the first ferry, the SS Prince Edward Island, from Borden to Cape Tormentine in October 1917; a poster and video display on the Mi’kmaq way of life on the Island, from before European contact up to the end of the 19th century; an extensive display of artifacts and photographs connected with William Callbeck’s tailor shop and his later store and artifacts collected by the late Howard Clark of Chelton. His collection relates to the social and economic life of small rural communities on the Island in the early 20th century.