Experiencing Amherst’s past through photos

Cumberland County Museum opens Amherst 125 exhibit

Darrell Cole webcomments@ngnews.ca
Published on August 27, 2014
Curator Natasha Richard fixes a photo from Robb Engineering that’s part of an Amherst 125 exhibit at the Cumberland County Museum on Church Street. The exhibit features many of the former industries in town as well as events and personalities.
Darrell Cole - Cumberlandnewsnow.com

The Cumberland County Museum is hosting an exhibit of Amherst's 125 years featuring photos and information on its industries and its people.

AMHERST – Amherst has had an eventful 125 years.

As the town celebrates its birthday, the Cumberland County Museum has put together an exhibit featuring pieces of Amherst’s history dating back to its incorporation in 1889. The exhibit is expected to run through the rest of the year.

“We were looking for a way to help celebrate the town’s 125th birthday and realized we have so much here in our collection,” curator Natasha Richard said. “We have so many photographs and other things in our archives and the town’s 125th birthday provided us with the opportunity to show some of those items and to help tell the story of Amherst’s history.”

The exhibit includes photos and some history on a number of Amherst’s major industries throughout the years including Rhodes and Curry, Canada Car and Foundry, Hewson Woolen Mills, Maritime Manufacturing Pants Company Ltd., Amherst Pianos and MacKay Motor Car Company.

There are also photos from the prisoner of war camp and detention centre that was located on Park Street during the First World War along with a photo and biography of Amherst hockey great Bill Riley and Amherst’s Father of Confederation and the town’s only prime minister Charles Tupper.

Also included in the exhibit is a display featuring the failed Chignecto Marine Ship Railway that would’ve connected the Bay of Fundy to the Northumberland Strait across the Isthmus of Chignecto and provided a shipping shortcut.

Along with some of the larger industries, Richard said the exhibit also tries to showcase some of the smaller companies like Bob’s Barbershop as well as some of the town’s retailers like Reid’s Bookstore, the Two Barkers and larger corporate entities like K-Mart, Zellers and Walmart.

“Almost all of the industries that were part of Amherst in its early years and made it Busy Amherst are now gone,” Richard said. “These companies were so important in the history of this community, but yet there are a lot of people in town who know little about the contributions of companies and people like the Christie family, Rhodes and Curry and others.”

While the exhibit has only been in place for a short time, she said, it has proven popular to visitors to the museum. She’s hoping more people from the community will come to the museum to see the exhibit and experience some of the town’s history.

She’s also hoping to attract some more volunteers to help out with the museum. Richard said volunteers are needed for a number of chores around the facility.

For further information, call the museum at 667-2651 or email ccma@cumberlandcountymuseum.com.

darrell.cole@tc.tc

Twitter: @ADNdarrell