New videos providing Routes to Roots

Andrew Wagstaff
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Rafes Construction works on the construction project at the Age of Sail Heritage Centre, which is undergoing a significant expansion. The work was glimpsed and mentioned in the museum's new

PARRSBORO - Local museums are finding new ways to link visitors with old information.

Tourist destinations such as Ottawa House By-the-Sea Museum in Parrsboro and the Age of Sail Heritage Centre in Wards Brook have turned to Youtube in an effort to promote the archives and genealogical resources at their facilities, as has the Cumberland County Museum and Archives in Amherst. It is all part of Routes to Roots, a project of the Council of Nova Scotia Archives.

"The biggest opportunity for us was to showcase our archives, for a change," said Oralee O'Byrne, manager of the Age of Sail museum. "Over the last 15 years the museum has been about artifacts, but with genealogy becoming as important to so many people, we're really starting to branch into that and making our archives a bigger and more important part of the museum."

Videographers hired by the Council of Nova Scotia Archives visited the local sites last summer to film the videos, which went live on Youtube last week.

O'Byrne takes front and centre in the Age of Sail video, while the Ottawa House video features historian Conrad Byers and archives officer June Wagstaff.

"Conrad touched more on the house and its history from the early history, including the Miq'mak, the Planters, the Loyalists, down through the Acadian influence. I touched more on the genealogy and the archive room... the resources we have available."

Genealogy is growing more and more popular among visitors to the area, according to Wagstaff, who said many people plan their vacations with help from such Internet promotional tools as Youtube.

"It's to help promote Ottawa House and make people aware of what we have here," she said. "We're hoping to get more visitors to our genealogy room."

Youtube is a new avenue of promotion for the Age of Sail museum, but is a vital connection to the outside world for museums in small communities with small budgets, O'Byrne explained.

She said it not only gave them a chance to showcase their archives, but it also provided a glimpse of the expansion construction project now under way at the museum. She also got to show the videographers around the area.

"The guys we worked with were great, and a lot of fun," she said. "They were really interested in the museum, not just from the filming aspect. It was great because it gave us an opportunity to kind of show off, and it was nice to see the enthusiasm they brought to the project."


Organizations: Ottawa House, Council of Nova Scotia Archives, Sail museum Sea Museum Age of Sail Heritage Centre Cumberland County Museum

Geographic location: PARRSBORO, Wards Brook, Amherst

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