© Jocelyn Turner
Dana Rushton explains how the Acadians would have built the dykes using the small spade he is holding. The museum opened their Acadian Day exhibits including a display featuring some of Rushton’s antique spades.
By Jocelyn Turner
Amherst Daily News
AMHERST – Red, white and blue with a bright yellow star will be donned today in honour of Acadian Day.
The Cumberland County Museum will be holding different exhibits in honour of Acadian history in Nova Scotia. One of the exhibits featured at the museum is about the dykes built by Acadians all around Cumberland County and Nova Scotia, some of the artifacts having been lent to the museum by Acadian history enthusiast Dana Rushton.
“There’s a lot of French history here in Nova Scotia,” said Rushton. “What the Acadians did in claiming the marsh land here was a new technology (here) that was used in Europe since the time of the Romans. How they applied it here, however, was unique with no government money to influence them. It was a community effort.”
The dykes were built to keep the fields full of nutrients in order for them to farm. Rushton said taking the time to remember the role they played in building communities in the area is important.
“The face of the landscape today is, strictly in its essence, was originated from what the Acadians did when they dyked the land. Things have changed and the dykes today aren’t the same dykes the Acadians made but the influence that they had. The system they created is still used today.”
Diana Shaw said there will be other displays about Acadian history at the museum to coincide with the dyke exhibit.
“Because of the significance of Beaubassin in our area, that (dykes built by Acadians) should be something that we would recognize,” she said. “We have this primary exhibit here for the dykes, but in our exhibit area we will have more information (about the Acadians) and we have pulled all of our early Acadian information to have it available for people who may want to come and do genealogy.”
The Acadian exhibit will run for the rest of the month of August.