Top News

Colchester Historeum exhibit features 150 years of remarkable Nova Scotians

Christine Sykora, left, manager of interpretation for the Nova Scotia Museum and Margaret Mulrooney, curator at the Colchester Historeum, set up displays for the Vanguard exhibit. The exhibit, which features 150 years of remarkable Nova Scotians, can be seen from now until March 27.
Christine Sykora, left, manager of interpretation for the Nova Scotia Museum and Margaret Mulrooney, curator at the Colchester Historeum, set up displays for the Vanguard exhibit. The exhibit, which features 150 years of remarkable Nova Scotians, can be seen from now until March 27. - Lynn Curwin
TRURO, N.S. —

Nova Scotia’s Flying Schoolmarm is just one of the remarkable people included in a new exhibit at the Colchester Historeum.
Aileen Meagher was born in 1910 and attended a convent school where “ladies" were not expected to run. She cut down a pair of her brother’s trousers to wear while running and showed a natural talent. She became a teacher, as well as an Olympic medalist.
“We know there are many more remarkable Nova Scotians,” said Christine Sykora, manager of interpretation for the Nova Scotia Museum. “This is just a sample.
“One person from each decade was chosen by the public, who were engaged through social media, and one was chosen by a committee of diverse members.”
She noted the decade a person is chosen from isn’t always based on birth date; it’s sometimes connected with the period that made them remarkable.
Margaret Mulrooney, curator at the Colchester Historeum, said the exhibit is appropriate for all ages.
“More than 500 students were in to see our last two exhibits and we hope to keep that trend going,” she said. 
“It’s not only informative, but it’s beautiful when it’s all set up and lit from inside.”
The exhibit, developed by the Nova Scotia Museum for Canada 150, includes information on 32 Nova Scotians who inspired people between 1867 and 2017. Objects and photos from the historeum’s collection complement the exhibit.
Well known names include Maud Lewis, Burnley Allan "Rocky" Jones, Viola Desmond, William D. Lawrence, Portia White, Alex Colville, Rita Joe, Thomas H. Raddall, Sir Charles Tupper and Joe Howe. There’s also the Hadhad family, who came from Syria as refugees and founded Peace by Chocolate.
“People chosen aren’t just based on celebrity status,” said David Carter, communication designer with the Nova Scotia Museum. “There’s more to history than people in the bright lights. There’s a lot behind the scenes, too.”
One of those whose brand is more famous than his name is Alex MacLean, who borrowed $800 from his father and used it to develop a line of T-shirts and hoodies with the name East Coast Lifestyle.
Maria Louisa Angwin studied at the Provincial Normal College and taught school while saving money for further education. She then became Nova Scotia’s first female doctor.
To increase the popularity of her writing, Margaret Marshall Saunders, who was born in 1861, removed her first name from her work so that people wouldn’t know it was created by a woman. Beautiful Joe, her book about a dog, came out in 1894 and is said to be the first book written by a Canadian to sell more than a million copies. 
“I think these stories are inspiring for children,” said Carter. “Hearing them can make them think about their own interests and how they might help society.
“What we do today is history tomorrow. We want people to think about who could be chosen for this list in the future.”
The exhibit will remain on display until March 27.
More information can be found on the Colchester Historeum website at https://colchesterhistoreum.ca/ and the Nova Scotia Museum site at https://museum.novascotia.ca/collections-research/vanguard

Recent Stories