Exciting year ahead for Ottawa House

Andrew
Andrew Wagstaff
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Historical society to focus work on building's foundation, strategic planning

A drainage excavation and archaeological dig on the property made last year a big one for Ottawa House. But it was only the beginning.

Exciting year ahead for Ottawa House

PARRSBORO A drainage excavation and archaeological dig on the property made last year a big one for Ottawa House. But it was only the beginning.

Even bigger plans are in store for the local museum this summer and include not only continued progress on the restoration of the historic building, but laying a framework for the future as well.

There are programs and projects we can initiate this summer that fit into our long-term vision and wont interfere with our final plans, Colin Curleigh, vice-president of the Parrsborough Shore Historical Society said.

One of those is a youth program.

By building closer partnerships with organizations like Fundy Geological Museum and the local air cadet squadron, as well as the schools, the historical society hopes to forge a closer bond with the youth of the area and make them more active participants in the life of Ottawa House.

A youth program was one of several key recommendations from project manager David Towns, who was hired by the society to lead its strategic planning process and ended his one-year term at the end of January. One of the ideas discussed for the youth program is to allow students to conduct their own hands-on archaeological digs on the property.

Other recommendations to be followed this year include putting more emphasis on the gift shop area to make it a more prominent area of the museum, and hopefully generate more revenue.

As for the restoration, all eyes will be on the property this spring to determine how effective the drainage work last summer was in curbing the problem of water running into the basement.

Were hoping the basement will be dry this spring, then we can start working on the sills and the foundation, said Curleigh, who said they will consult with professionals as to the extent of the work required, e.g. if the existing foundation needs replaced or not. Consensus will also have to be reached between the society membership on what needs to be done, he added.

Everyone realizes something has to be done, he said. There are still those who rightly say, Whats wrong with leaving it as it is? There are also those who say that if we want to develop anything for the future then we have to change. Its something were wrestling with.

About one-third of the $150,000 provided from the provincial government last year has been spent to date on the excavation work and archaeological consultation.

Curleigh stepped down as society president at its recent annual general meeting to take over the role as project man to guide the various committees, now that Towns will no longer be there to do so. Frank Hartman was elected society president at the Jan. 28 meeting.

He is also meeting with representatives from the Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association (CREDA) to continue with a business plan for the project, which will be necessary before major corporate and government fundraising can proceed.

There is a great need this year to start action.

awagstaff@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Ottawa House, Parrsborough Shore Historical Society, Fundy Geological Museum Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association

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