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This courtroom was the site of many famous legal dramas during the past century, including bank robberies, cattle-rustling and murder.
Completely refurbished in 1981, the 4-1/2 foot high dado panelling in the courtroom has been handgrained to simulate oak. The process, carried out by Bradford Forsyth of Millville, Kings County, was begun by first stripping off the many layers of paint applied over the years. The trim and panelling was then covered with a base coat of white paint, followed by a coat of stain. The stain was “grained” with the skillful use of various pieces of cloth and metal combs resulting in the paneling taking on the appearance of natural grain.
Mr. Forsyth’s art work contains cleverly camouflaged images of animals in the pattern of the grain. Rabbits, bears, goats and fish are among the figures to be found in the beautifully refurbished woodwork.
In 1837 an 18 year old girl became the Queen of England and Head of the British Empire. Her secluded childhood formed the basis for her personality dominated by strong prejudices and willful stuborness. However, Queen Victoria quickly won the hearts of her subjects and eventually became the most popular Queen in British history. In general, her personal tastes reflected those of the middle class, not only in moral attitudes, but in clothes and household furnishings.
This exhibit reveals items popular in a typical Victorian parlour. Tea was customarily served to guests in the parlour. Of particular interest in this exhibit is the Huntington organ, manufactured in Quebec in1886, and still functional.
Under the brooding gaze of Cape Blomidon, a corruption of “Cape Blow-me-Down” so named by early sailors in the Basin, the human history of Kings County can be traced back 5, 000 years. Beginning with the Mi’kmaq, a semi-nomadic people with an ancient culture rich in language, folklore, and craftwork. Followed by the Acadians, French colonists who first tamed the mighty tides of the Minas Basin through their ingenious dyking methods to reclaim rich soil from salt marshes. These earthworks changed the physical landscape of the region and still stand as a testament to the ability of the farmers who first introduced them.
A century of war for territorial mastery between the British and the French culminated in the human tragedy known as the Expulsion of the Acadians in 1755. Economic expansion brought the first significant group of English speaking colonists to the area in the 1760’s. Known as the “New England Planters” some 8,000 moved to Nova Scotia between 1760 and 1768. The Planters brought with them Black servants and slaves. It is believed that most of the present population of African Nova Scotians living in Kings County descended from these first settlers.
The story of a country is grounded in the history of it’s people. From the African Nova Scotian community came William Hall (1829-1904) who served as a sailor during the Crimean War. He would became the first Nova Scotian to receive the Victoria Cross for outstanding bravery. His bravery knew no boundaries and he stands as an example of heroic behaviour for all Canadians. You can explore his history, and those of all of these other early cultures in the “Founding Cultures Exhibit.”
New England Planters
In 1755 the Acadians were expelled from Acadia, and forced to leave their homes, livestock, and all their posssessions behind. Three years later, in 1758, Governor Charles Lawrence issued a proclamation to the people of New England inviting them to settle the fertile Nova Scotian farmlands left vacant following the expulsion of the Acadians. By 1768, approximately 8000 New Englanders, known as the “Planters” had made the move.
To commemorate this history, the Kings County Museum in conjunction with Parks Canada has established a National Commemorative Exhibit to the New England Planters.
Nova Scotia Glass
The years 1880 throughout the 1920’s marked the golden age of pressed glass manufacturing in Nova Scotia. Three companies began production in this period – the Nova Scotia Glass Company which was the primary pressed glass producer, the Humphrey Glass Company and the Lamont Glass Company – all of which were located in Pictou County. During this era no other companies were making clear glass tableware in Canada. This once relatively common, and often utilitarian, glassware is now highly sought after by collectors.
This collection of Nova Scotian Glass was bequeathed to the Kings County Museum by the late Verna Mae Chase (1930-2008) of Centreville. Born in Spa Springs, Annapolis County, she was the daughter of the late Eugene and Ruby Stronach. She received her R.N. from the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax. Along with her husband Len she was a long-time member and volunteer at the Kings Historical Society and kindly loaned her beautiful glass collection on occasion for display. It now finds a permanent home here at the museum for the public to enjoy. The collection has been added to recently with a few new pieces donated to the museum in 2010 by Mr. Bill Pearman of Wolfville.
Shaped by Nature
The physiography, or physical geography, of Kings County is shaped by many things some common to other parts of the world and some unique to Kings County. Under the steadfast gaze of Cape Blomidon these elements define the landscape in which we live. Through this introductory exhibit we invite you to begin your own exploration of the natural history of Kings County.