So an exhibit called ‘Fundy Boats Then and Now’ is apt for O’Dell House Museum perched on the edge of the Annapolis Basin in Annapolis Royal. Over the mountain or through the Gut and you’re on the Bay.
“It’s a project that we started working on with ARCAC (Annapolis Region Community Arts Council), starting to put the ideas together last fall,” said the museum’s Wayne Smith. “It started to come to fruition in January and onwards from there. The exhibition that we have includes pieces from the permanent collection of the O’Dell House Museum – so we have boat models, we have paintings, we have photographs, flags, things that have been in our collection for quite a while.”
He said they decided to not only use those pieces but to integrate them with new works of art as well, in particular photography by Dan Froese.
From Mi’Kmaq canoes, through the age of sail, and forward into the modern fishing industry, the exhibit covers all forms of water transportation and industry.
“Of course, in this maritime environment all transportation was by boat,” said Annapolis Heritage Society historian Ian Curry in a brochure that accompanies the exhibit that opened on June 25 and runs through October. “In the early 1600s, French traders and Acadian settlers built European-style rowing and sailing vessels to explore the coast and rivers. Pinnace shallots and the native canoes were the most common types of inshore fishing and trading craft.”
The exhibition will evolve over the course of the summer and fall, Smith said.
“There’s also going to be ongoing changes with the exhibition,” he said. “There are interviews that are going to be taking place – different symposiums if you will – on the subject and that’s going to be brought into our collection. Paintings are going to be brought in. More photographs are going to be brought in. Different types of documentation as well.”
He said people attending the opening June 25 can come back three weeks later and the exhibit will have changed.
“What we’re hoping to do is that a lot of people who are involved in the boating industry in our area now will lend us works as the exhibition goes on, and so they will become part of this exhibition,” Smith said. “It’s very much a community effort too. So we’re quite excited about it.”
Smith said the exhibition is of the past and the present.
“And it’s a way of looking at Canada over the past 150 years as well, and our experience within Canada,” he said.
From June 1 to Labour Day O’Dell House is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Located on the Annapolis Royal waterfront in a stagecoach inn and tavern, the O’Dell House Museum is the former home of Nova Scotia Pony Express rider Corey O’Dell and his family. Explore the inn’s parlour, dining room, kitchen and small office, and interpretive displays which document the seafaring and shipbuilding past of the Annapolis Royal area and the everyday lives of its citizens.
For information go to http://www.annapolisheritagesociety.com/museums.html