A new permanent exhibit at the Margaret Fawcett Norrie Heritage Centre will focus on the co-existence of the Mi’kmaq and Acadians in the area. Many of the current artifacts, including stone, will remain. Raissa Tetanish photo

Things will soon look a little bit different on the top floor of the Margaret Fawcett Norrie Heritage Centre.

Maralyn Driver, the treasurer for the Creamery Square Heritage Society, which operates the centre, said a new exhibit will have an emphasis on both the Acadians and Mi’kmaq and their time in the area.

“In the future, we would love to take the Mi’kmaq group further,” she said, while standing just inside the doorway to the top floor where the exhibit will go.

“Once the Acadians were gone, they were gone and didn’t really come back here.”

Walking through the doorway, visitors to the centre this season will see a welcome sign in three languages – English, French, and Mi’kmaq.

“When we started researching for this exhibit, we discovered the Mi’kmaq had been here for thousands of years. Our focus will be on the co-existence of the two groups of people – we really want to highlight that,” said Driver.

The Mi’kmaq, she said, were “very resilient people” when the Acadians arrived, bringing them into their daily lives.

“And the Acadians didn’t interfere with the Mi’kmaq, in their hunting, or fishing, etcetera.”

After the Acadians were expelled on Aug. 14, 1755 by the British, Joseph Frederick Wallet Des Barres was granted 20,000 acres of land and he began the settlements that still influence the area to this day.

Driver said the story of Des Barres will remain in the exhibit, much as it was prior to this new presentation.

The treasurer said many people in the community contributed to the display, including the Jost family, and funding came through the provincial and federal governments.

“This is really to broaden our knowledge, and our exhibits on the Mi’kmaq and Acadians,” she said.

The exhibit will run on the wall as soon as one walks through the doorway, and around the left corner. It will include some interactive features and interpretive panels.

The Battle of 1745 will be included, and the impact it had on the Acadian settlement in the area.

“We were a conduit of goods – they were funneled through Tatamagouche and would go to Fort Louisbourg,” Driver said.

At the end of the exhibit, the centre will bring in the Montbeliard family, which Driver says is a whole story in and of itself.

The exhibit, which will be a permanent one, will open with a reception June 16 at 2 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

“There’s a lot of information packed into such a short space,” said Driver, adding Skyline Designs out of Moncton will be doing the design work. The company designed the rest of the museum’s exhibits as well.

“The new exhibit started out as one on the Acadians, but when we did our research, we realized how much the Mi’kmaq were involved, and we wanted to display that.”
Driver said a reproduction of a portion of a map featuring the Mi’kmaq settlements in the area will also be part of the display.

The centre opens for the season on May 19, and will only open on weekends during the month of May. Beginning in June, the centre will be open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays, and 2-4 p.m. on other days of the week. Starting in July through to September, the hours of operation will switch to 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays to Fridays; Saturday hours remain 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The centre has been approved for funding to hire three summer students, two of which will be tour guides, while the third will be an assistant to the museum coordinator.

For more information on the centre and its offerings, visit www.tatamagoucheheritagecentre.ca, call 902-657-3449, or email info@tatamagoucheheritagecentre.ca. Other exhibits include the Brule Fossil Centre, Anna Swan Museum, and Sunrise Trail Museum. The North Shore Archives is also located in the centre.

HISTORY OF THE HERITAGE CENTRE

  • 1924 – The original creamery building was constructed
  • 1925 – Alex Ross opened the Tatamagouche Creamery
  • 1930 – J.J. Creighton purchased the creamery
  • 1967 – J.J. Creighton passed away
  • 1968 – Scotsburn Co-Operative Services Limited purchased the creamery
  • 1992 – Butter production at the creamery ended and the building was given to the village, however Scotsburn Dairy Group continued producing butter under the Tatamagouche brand
  • 2009 The Creamery Square Heritage Society took over the operation of the building