TRURO – Alana Hirtle looks around for a moment, then quickly realizes there is much more to the Colchester Historeum than presumed.
Hirtle’s first visit to the museum on Young Street in Truro was an eye-opener.
“I didn’t think about this area’s history; I thought it was farming and that’s it. But there’s a large cross section of information here on African Canadians, farming and the military,” said Hirtle, who is the general manager of the Super 8 in Millbrook and the president of the Central Nova Tourist Association.
Hirtle was one of about 20 people who recently gathered at the museum to learn more about the facility, its recent accomplishments, future projects and how to better promote it to tourists and area residents.
“Travellers are smarter and the status quo is not good enough any more. They are looking for new experiences and to be educated and get their hands dirty.”
Education and hands-on interaction is exactly what the museum has to offer, said curator Jordan LeBlanc. He said interactive learning opportunities, workshops and community events are ongoing and education has become even more prominent.
“We recently installed eight windows with eight images on them showcasing the local history such as sports, the military and the arts,” to name a few, said LeBlanc.
The windows utilize light from outside to come to life and the museum is working on making them visual at night as well. That project is only one of a few revitalization projects during a few years that in total is expected to cost $750,000.
“We have new cabinets and benches and can utilize more space and more can happen at once. It’s a much classier display and is more extensive,” LeBlanc said.
Other efforts will include installing floor-to-ceiling banners and a multi-media theatre showcasing local talent.
Stacey Harrison, sales manager at the Holiday Inn in Truro, said the upgrades make a difference.
“I haven’t been in this building for decades. It was very bare when I was here (at least 20 years ago) and not as elaborate. It’s modernized now,” said Harrison.
Harrison believes her lack of knowledge about the museum – “I didn’t know there were three floors or archives” – is a recurrent issue in the area.
“Not enough people know about this place.”
Harrison said she’s interested in promoting the museum when visitors arrive at the Holiday Inn and she hopes others in the industry will do the same.
“Knowledge is power and it’s a win-win for everybody when we spread the word about each other,” Harrison said.
Bonnie Waddell, a member on the museum’s board of directors, believes more people will stop in.
“If you have knowledge, you have enthusiasm. The word will spread,” said Waddell after speaking with people gathered to learn more about the museum.
Waddell said the museum’s updated displays and exhibits cover more topics and are more interconnected. Some current displays include history of local high schools, blueberries in the county, life of children, costumes, and work is being done on the history of the Normal College.
If you go:
What: Colchester Historeum
Where: 29 Young St., Truro
Hours: Until the end of August – Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed Sunday
Beginning September: Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 4 p.m.; Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday