Yarmouth County Museum and Archives
A Home for the Past
The Yarmouth County Museum officially opened its doors on June 9th, 1969, at 22 Collins Street, right in the heart of the Collins Heritage Conservation District. It is dedicated to the memory of Major Daniel and Alvina Murphy, who, two years earlier, gave a generous donation to the Yarmouth County Historical Society, which allowed them to purchase the building. Before it housed the museum, the building was a church: first, the Tabernacle Congregational Church (from 1893-1921), second, the United Tabernacle Church (from 1921-1925), and lastly, the Central United Church of Canada (from 1925-1967).
The building itself is striking for its Gothic Revival Style architecture. It was constructed in 1892 after the original Tabernacle Church on Main Street was struck by lightning and burned down. The new church was erected on Collins Street and cost $14,638.42. Melford Simms (of Plymouth, NS) received the contract to build the church, and due to his low bid, had to recruit his son to help, so he wouldn't go over budget. Once completed, the building housed a kitchen, small library, and a schoolroom. The church held up to 325 people, and the school, 150 students, with the two separated by sliding doors. The exterior of the building was made of Shelburne granite. Several companies worked on the interior, including C.J. Morton for the plumbing, Petit and Sellers for the plastering, and Thomas Ritchie & Son for the decorating. The Kinney-Haley Manufacturing Company crafted the oak pews. An interesting fact about the building is that the ceiling beams were originally part of a bridge in Tusket.
Today, the museum boasts the third largest collection in Canada of ship portraits, the third largest costume collection in Nova Scotia, and the largest non-institutional archives in Nova Scotia. Locals and tourists alike enjoy visiting the Yarmouth County Museum for a variety of reasons. Whether to tour the large collection of artifacts, do research in the archives, attend a traditional tea, or try your hand at an exciting escape room, there is truly something for everyone.