Charlotte County Archives Inc.
Board Chair’s Remarks
2015 Annual General Meeting
Presented by Donna Muir
Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.
What an exciting year we have just completed at the Charlotte County Archives. It is always a pleasure to deliver good news. Through the dedicated work of our volunteers, many of whom have reached milestones in their service, our summer students, and the ever steadfast work of our Archivist, Janice Fairney we have much to be proud of. As well, the Charlotte County Archives is served by an exceptional board of dedicated, committed, forward thinking and energetic directors who are willing, not only to embrace our mission, but also to work tirelessly toward changes that will enhance our rich heritage and make those riches available to the public. Their combined enthusiasm has again made this year a very rewarding one for me as Chair.
I also want to sincerely thank all of our dedicated volunteers for without your continued support and generous giving of your time and talents, there is much that could not have been accomplished. We are a richer organization from the invested time of our volunteers. As well, I extend our collective thanks to Dr. Janice Fairney and I would like at this time to thank her for her on going work on cataloguing our resources and for her committed dedication to the many tasks we ask of her on your behalf. As we work toward sustainable funding, it is my hope that, in time, we will have the financial resources to have her on site full-time.
We remain indebted to the Province for our continued use of the Gaol and for their maintenance of that facility and extend our thanks to John Morrow and his crew who are quick to respond to our issues and concerns. This year we received a multi-yeared lease with renewal options that will ensure our continued making the Gaol our home for the foreseeable future.
We are always grateful to our many friends and sponsors who generously give each year at our appeal time. Without your continued support we would be unable to operate. With that said we are also looking at programs and plans to increase our financial sustainability in these competitive economic times. We have had great support from St. Andrews and St. George town councils and from Black’s Harbour Village Council and we will continue to reach out to other municipal governments within our county to seek their ongoing support of our activities. We have received financial support from corporate donors in our region and will endeavour to establish strong bonds with other corporate entities whether it is to offer them a service or to ask for their donation to an ongoing project we undertake. This past year we received a grant from Fundy Community Foundation and together with a private donation from a friend of the Archives we have been able to update our computers and scanner capabilities. As well a grant in the amount of $1284 was received from the Department of Tourism Heritage and Culture through the Museum Activity Support Program which allowed us to purchase two new archival storage units for the vault.
Our newsletters have received very positive feedback as has our webpage, which we launched here two years ago year. We invite you to visit the website www.ccarchives.ca often and check for upcoming events under the section: “What’s on the Docket” and sign up for our “Taproot” feature. Because of the number of snow days this year in the school system and the real likelihood that many restrictions would be placed on the student’s time, we have, for this year only, suspended our Live the Experience Initiative.
We concluded our efforts to commemorate the War of 1812 and moved to the ongoing commemoration of our Charlotte County men and women at war. From 1914 to 1918, thousands of Canadian men and women were called upon to contribute to the effort required for the First World War, an event that transformed our nation, culture, economy and identity. In late August, we hosted a talk by former board member and noted historian, Jason Gaudet, on the men of the fighting 26th regiment. We placed a memorial at the Ross Memorial Library, which in turn was transported to All Saints Anglican Church on Remembrance Day. Our hope, with the assistance of a grant from Fundy Community Foundation, is to create three more displays to be placed in three locations around the county in the week leading up to November 11. We are also looking to partner with Sunbury Shores in another remembrance activity this November.
Together with the Ross Museum, we celebrated the 100th Anniversary of Grace Helen Mowat and Cottage Craft and in August and were delighted by having the Rev. Basil Lowery come and tell us of his personal knowledge of this remarkable woman. On August 9, we launched our first Heritage Homes Tour. The event was a resounding success and we are completing plans for our second event this August 8. Be on the lookout for tickets. You won’t want to miss this year’s homes and the tickets will go fast.
Our ghost walks have been well received and we are grateful that Felicity Cooper has such talent in keeping the tours interesting and a little spooky. Some tours have already started again this year. We continue to provide tours of the old gaol and the historic Charlotte County Court House as well. On Canada Day we were able to “arrest” and hold in jail many friends of the Archives as well as the general public who all had to make arrangements to be released after the payment of the “fine”. Some saved themselves the incarceration by paying for a Get out of Gaol Free card. We are very grateful to Art McIntyre for his carpentry skills and to those on our Board who lent their time to the finishing and set up of the jail. It was a fun experience.
In the fall, we applied to the national Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada requesting Federal Designation of an Historic Site for the old Gaol. We are hopeful that our efforts will be successful and that the gaol will finally take its place as another building of historic significance in our beautiful town and county. Since opening its doors to the first “visitors”, countless people have passed through the heavy front door of the gaol. They came at first as directed by the courts, for indebtedness, murder, mischief, and sundry crimes; they come now to learn about their past, to search for family connections - researching marriage, cemetery records, and to make their personal history and the history of their communities come alive. Some come to see if the stories of the resident ghost are true. As well many came to do their own research or to do historical research of our Charlotte County Heritage. Our visitors come from within and outside of the county and are met and guided by a team of dedicated volunteers who are happy to share their energy, enthusiasm and knowledge. This year nearly 4000 people visited with many coming from Ontario, the New England States, and various other regions of the US. Nearly half of our annual visitors are people from within our province. In June we hope to start courses for a limited number of people who want help in getting started. Registration is limited, so if you are interested let us know. A small fee will be charged. If this proves successful, more courses will run in the fall.
What’s On the Docket: Our notification page from our web page and here’s a sneak peek…..
Canada Day…..Put your friends and family in goal…..
Researching Your Roots in Charlotte County
Our Heritage Homes Tour is Back! Mark your calendar. August 8, 2015
Murder and mayhem! Stay tuned!!!
As we work toward financial sustainability, we are reminded what a privilege it is to have such a magnificent repository of Charlotte County’s vast and varied history and how important our role as caretakers of that repository is in maintaining and conserving the richness of our collected history and how important it is to make that history available to everyone. The jewels in our vault need, from time to time, to be taken out and allowed to shine. We are committed to “Preserving our Past and Enriching our Future” and together with our volunteers and friends of the Archives, we continue to work to have that realized.