The Mahone Bay Museum is a small, community museum created by the Mahone Bay Founders Society, which strives to protect and provide access to the history of Mahone Bay area.

The history of the Mahone Bay Museum began in 1979 when The Mahone Bay Founders Society formed to organize the celebration of Mahone Bay’s 225th Anniversary of the settlement in 1754. Various members in the community worked together to plan this event. Afterwards, the Founders Society started collecting and borrowing items to display in small exhibits. These exhibits were housed during the summer months in the Pioneer Hall located in the basement of Trinity United Church. However, the Society was determined to have a permanent home to open a permanent museum.

In 1987, the Society purchased the house located at 578 Main Street, known as the Begin Family Home. The Begin house was built around 1874 for a man named Benjamin Begin, a descendant of Jacques Begin, who was one of the 1754 Foreign Protestant settlers from France. Three generations of the Begin Family lived in this house from 1874 to 1959. The home is a one-and-a-half storey, wood frame structure that features a central five-sided dormer entryway forming a “Lunenburg bump” that was added around 1880. On the inside of the home, two areas of the ceiling have paintings on them and also marbling on the faux fireplace. There is also a kitchen with a hearth that is made from bricks, which includes a built-in bread or bake oven. An addition on the back of the house allowed Benjamin, and later his son Charles, to make small sails in the sail loft upstairs. Charles was a member of the crew of riggers who installed the masts and fitted the rigging and sails on the famous “Bluenose” in Lunenburg. Around 1910, Charles relocated the family sail making business to a larger building on the waterfront. The sail loft on the home was shortened and the half storey was expanded to a full second storey to expand the living areas.

After the Society purchased the property, they launched themselves into a fundraising telethon and renovation campaign to help cover the costs to adapt the building to serve as a museum. In 1988, the Settlers Museum opened to the public. Among other artifacts, the museum displayed a large portion of the Percy Inglis/Clara Quinlan China collection, on loan from the Nova Scotia Museum. In 1989, the Begin family house was designated a Municipally Registered Property.

In 2015, the Mahone Bay Settlers Museum received feedback from our community and decided to rebrand as the Mahone Bay Museum and focus on other aspects of Mahone Bay’s history beyond the settlers and Inglis/Quinlan collection. Our name changed to Mahone Bay Museum and we began to develop exhibits on shipbuilding, the 1754 Settler Families of Mahone Bay, the Begin Family and house history, the three churches of Mahone Bay, and more.

Nowadays, the building’s upstairs is home to our research library and archival collection. The main floor contains four rooms with exhibits, children’s programming areas, and a small gift shop. Recently, we added small short-term exhibits on antique toys, kitchen tools, the Second World War, and Mahone Bay’s veterans. We are also working on developing a local Folklore Exhibit and a Mi’kmaq History exhibit.

The following are the original members of the Mahone Bay Founders Society:
Hilda Burgoyne 
Shirley & Franklyn Burgoyne
Ernestine & Edward Cochran
Maxine & Bruce Cochran
Robert Cox
Isobel Crossland
Beverly & William Dye
Kaye & John Gascoigne
William Hayes
Marion & Alan Langille 
Audrey & Philip Lohnes
Elizabeth & Myrnah MacDonald
Barbara & Erc Miller
Marilyn & Dail Millet
Phyllis & Enos Nauss
Lila & Michael O’Connor
Cathy Slauenwhite-Nowe
Arlean Smeltzer
Philip Smeltzer
Gordon Stewart
Carolyn Davis-Stewart
Jacqueline & Herlan Whynot
Elizabeth & Earl Wood
Deirdre & Don Larson



578 Main Street, Mahone Bay, NS