Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Subject Matter Expert (SME) Partnership Update

One of our goals this year was to expand the work that we do with subject matter experts (SMEs) and encourage museums to pursue these valuable partnerships in their own communities. We launched a pilot project and enlisted the help of three Advisory Service sites. With the help of staff and volunteers at the Colchester Historeum, Kings County Museum, and the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame, important partnerships were made with SMEs who have extensive knowledge of: silverware, bottles, lumbering & forestry, Royal Canadian Navy sports history, and football in Nova Scotia. We would like to thank Kim Troop (bottle expert) and Allison Magee (silverware expert) for the work that they completed with staff at the Kings County Museum, including a video series on artifact identification. Also, thanks to Allan Bonnyman and staff at the Colchester Historeum and Doug Wright and staff at the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame for their efforts.

We invite you to explore 5 new galleries & related stories. A few highlights are listed below:

Colchester Historeum - Logging, Milling & Forestry

One of the stories in this gallery is about J. J. Snook, an owner of a prosperous harness and saddle business (c. 1870). He organized a lumber camp at Farm Lake (c. 1908). Nora and George Tucker of Tatamagouche looked after the camp and are pictured onsite. You will also find a weight used for tethering horses manufactured by J. J. Snook and a photograph of the business describing it as "one of the largest horse furnishing houses in the Maritime Provinces." 

Another story is of Osborne Higgins who ran a sawmill in Crowe's Mills. The three harmonicas in this gallery were played by Higgins at home, in church, and during local kitchen parties. Higgins also purchased a reel-to-reel tape recorder in February 1952 from a Truro merchant. A connection to a pair of snowshoes originally owned by Higgins was made. These were used to travel to a lumber mill site.

Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame - Royal Canadian Navy Sports in Nova Scotia 

One of the stories in this gallery is about the Halifax Wanderers Grounds, which was the center of sports activity in Nova Scotia for many years. During the summer of 1942, the Halifax’s Wanderers Grounds baseball park and clubhouse were reappropriated to act as the recreation centre for the Royal Canadian Navy stationed in the city. The clubhouse was renamed the Navy League Club House to reflect this change. On August 1, 1942, the recreation park was officially reopened by the Navy and an opening game was held, which pitted the team from Halifax against a Navy team from Toronto.

Retired Yankee baseball player George Herman “Babe” Ruth was asked to appear at the opening ceremony. At some point during the game, Ruth interrupted play to give a hitting exhibition for the 5000 fans assembled at the park. Ruth took to the plate to hit a few easy pitches from Awkie Titus, a relief pitcher for the local Halifax Defence League’s Navy Club. An autographed baseball and a photograph of the opening day ceremonies is included in this gallery.

Some of these records have ties to the Wanderers Grounds and Harry A. Cochrane, who took photographs for the Mail-Star Chronicle-Herald. Another unique story is about John "Fabie" Bates. Fabie played hockey and football for St. Francis Xavier University (St.FX) in 1915-1916 and then served in the Royal Canadian Army during World War I from 1916-1919. During the War he survived a mustard gas attack, temporary blindness and a secret allied expedition in Northern Russia. In 1919, he went back to St.FX and captained both the hockey and football teams. During his years at St.FX, Bates led the hockey team to two intercollegiate championships and in his last season scored half of the team's total goals. In 1921, Bates graduated from St.FX and went on to Dalhousie Medical School. While at DAL, he played hockey and rugby. Fabie was known as "one of the most brilliant and popular athletes ever to attend Dalhousie."

Kings County Museum - Railway Connections in Kentville

With the help of Allison Magee, a number of silverware records were examined. To connect the dots, ANSM staff searched for related records to highlight connections to the Dominion Atlantic Railway (DAR). DAR started operation in 1894 and was then leased by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in 1911. According to record P991.189.131, in 1898, DAR had a new steamer, the S.S. Prince George, built in Hull, England. She arrived in Yarmouth in November and was put on the Boston run. Both Captain Arthur and Adelbert MacKinnon were her masters. In that same year a sister ship, the Prince Arthur, was built and put into service under the command of J. Ernest Kenney and Alvin Simms. The ships ran daily during the summer months while the S.S. Prince Edward was laid up for repairs. 

A related record is The Land of Evangeline Nova Scotia Annotated Guide (2018.012.008), which is a 67 page softcover Dominion Atlantic Railway (DAR) brochure that promoted travel to Nova Scotia. You will also find a 68 page soft cover brochure titled, Vacation Days in Nova Scotia (dated 1907) in this gallery (2018.012.007). 

A selection of these objects were found in the spring of 2005 by the firm of Neill & Gunter Ltd., a Design & Consulting Engineer Co. Work was completed for the town of Kentville to clean up the former Dominion Atlantic Railway (Canadian Pacific) lands located at the western end of the Town of Kentville. A large collection of items were unearthed near the railway roundhouse and donated to the museum in the fall of 2005.  It is likely that many of these artifacts were part of the dining service on the train. A letter (2008.005.011) was also found inside a can time capsule, which was encased in the cement foundation of the roundhouse. It was written on a time sheet from the Canadian Pacific Railway, signed by builders of the cement foundation, John DeWolfe, George Gillis, Harry Lynch, Harvey McLeod, and Albert Roberts. The three individuals who found the foundation wrote a response, as seen in this gallery (2008.005.013).

Medicine Bottles and More

With the advice of bottle expert, Kim Troop, various records in this gallery were examined. Most bottles are from the Jijuktu’kwejk Watershed Alliance Collection. The marks and labels indicate that some of these bottles were used by druggists in Nova Scotia. For instance, an extract bottle (2018.036.003) used by druggists like C.C. Richards and L.C. of Yarmouth (circa 1880) is in the gallery. Another bottle (2018.036.005) was produced by A.S. Hinds Company, which was based in New England (Portland, ME) as a maker of medicines for coughs and colds. Kim Troop stated that the Rawleighs medicine company bottle (2018.036.007) with continued thread on the neck is machine made, consumer glass works, c. 1940s. A popular Minard's liniment bottle (2018.036.009) was also a topic of discussion. 

ANSM staff helped identify related artifacts, such as the 3oz medicine bottle with a label stating: Manufactured by B.R. Bishop, Kentville, N.S. According to the label, it is for colds and an irritated throat. A print by Amos Lawson Hardy, a talented photographer who captured scenes of Nova Scotia during his lifetime, photographed the home of Dr. Bishop (P995.185.1).

The records found in these new galleries highlight important connections and weave together meaningful stories. The 5 new galleries feature 20+ stories intertwined in the records. ANSM invites you to explore these stories and many others in the Contributor Galleries on NovaMuse!

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