The Yarmouth County Museum is a distinguished community museum incorporated in 1958 in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia under the auspices of the Yarmouth County Historical Society.
The museum moved in 1969 to its present location in a magnificent 12,360 square foot granite-walled church. The setting is unique: a well kept, the high-ceilinged building of solid granite, with carpeted flooring throughout. The architecture combines with the superb collections to create a warm intimacy, captivating visitors as they cross the museum's threshold. Nestled within the Collins Heritage Conservation District, a neighbourhood of historically significant Victorian houses near the business district, the museum has drawn thousands of visitors year after year.
The Yarmouth County Museum is well-known internationally for its collection of ship portraits, which is the third-largest in Canada. Its costume collection is the third-largest in Nova Scotia, and its archives are the largest non-institutional archives in Nova Scotia.
History of the Building
The Yarmouth County Museum was originally constructed as the Tabernacle Congregational Church in 1892-93. It is a Gothic Revival style building of rough finish Shelburne granite. When it was completed it was regarded as the most handsome church building in western Nova Scotia, according to newspaper articles of the time.
Here are some of the building's outstanding architectural features that remain for all to see:
steeply pitched gable roof
corner bell tower
Palladian window in the facade
steeply pitched, bell cast hip roof on the tower
off-centre entrance in the base of the tower
wood columns and roof on the entrance porch
The granite church was built by Milford Simms & Son and E.B. Churchill. The beams in the vaulted ceiling come from the Second Tusket River Bridge, which had been dismantled and replaced with a steel structure. The cost of building the church was $14,638.42.
After June 10, 1925, when the Congregational, Methodist and Presbyterian churches joined to form the United Church of Canada, the church's name became the Central United Church of Yarmouth. It was used until the mid-1960s when the new Beacon United Church was built in Yarmouth and this building was deemed redundant. The building was sold to the Yarmouth County Historical Society in 1967 as a home for its collections.
The Yarmouth County Historical Society was formed in 1935 to collect and preserve historical records and artifacts, and to promote interest in Yarmouth County's history.