2018 - A Year in Review

With 2018 quickly drawing to an end, we can look back on our year at the museum with pride. We opened an amazing new exhibit - The County of Heroes, CY Peck, VC and the Victory Cannons. The exhibit highlights the significant accomplishments of the people from Albert County both during and after the First World War. The exhibit honours the 55 men from Albert County who paid the supreme sacrifice while serving their county, and those who survived the horrors and came home. The exhibit tells the exciting story of the pair of German guns which sit in Hopewell Cape Square, and how they came to be there. It also honours, Cyrus Peck, a native born Albert County man who won the Victoria Cross, September 2, 1918 by telling his life story. If you haven’t had a chance to see it come in 2019!

We also welcomed Dan Ross, our new Manager to the museum. Dan had a great first year, getting a crash course on Albert County’s amazing history. He laid the foundation for our continued success, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he has planned for the future.

We continued our annual events - RB Bennett Day, the 42nd Annual Quilt Show and Fiber Arts Fair, the Royalty Tea, the Antiques Road Show and the Annual Christmas Concert. So without further ado here is the year in review!

ARE YOU OUR NEXT JR. HISTORIAN?

The Albert County Museum is looking for a Senior High School or University Student who has a passion for history, to play a key roll at the Museum this summer as our Jr. Historian. This position is bilingual and the candidate must apply through Young Canada Works at: https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/services/funding/young-canada-works.html  

In addition, you can also send your resume to d.ross@albertcountymuseum.com 

About the position: This is a unique opportunity for a dynamic, self-motivated individual to be a vital part of the Albert County Museum and RB Bennett Commemorative Centre. To help manage its artifact collection, offer educational outreach and be part of a dedicated interpretive staff in telling the story of the People of the Tides and showcasing Albert County's native son, Hon. RB Bennett, 11th Prime Minister of Canada.

The candidate will directly help the Manager with the day to day museum functions, and assist in the development of interpretive programming and exhibits. Strong organizational, supervisory, interpersonal and oral/written communication skills are mandatory, as well as strong social media skills, and speaking before small and large groups. Bilingualism is expected.

This will be an excellent opportunity for a potential candidate to build a strong skill set in all fields of museum and curatorial aspects for a career in museum/heritage and related fields. The Albert County Museum has a wide focus of history which encompasses exhibits from first nations, to the earliest Acadian Settlers in 1699, the Expulsion, through the height of the maritime shipbuilding, Confederation, to both World Wars, and later. The museum also celebrates Canada's 11th Prime Minister RB Bennett which lends itself to an excellent opportunity for a candidate with more political leanings. Visit www.albertcountymuseum.com 

Today is the 98th Anniversary of the Hopewell Vimy Gun Arriving in Hopewell Cape - May 28, 1920

Today is the 98th Anniversary of the Hopewell Vimy Gun Arriving in Hopewell Cape - May 28, 1920

98 years ago today, May 28, 1920  the Hopewell Cape Vimy Gun arrived at Cape Station and was towed to Hopewell Cape. You can learn about the exciting story, from it's capture at Vimy Ridge, April 9, 1917 to it's arrival in Hopewell Cape at the County of Heroes-Cyrus Peck, VC and the Victory Cannons Exhibit.  The exhibit opened at the Albert County Museum on May 19th.

County of Heroes Exhibit Opens Saturday, May 19th - See you there!

County of Heroes Exhibit Opens Saturday, May 19th - See you there!

On Saturday, May 19, County of Heroes-Cyrus Peck, VC and the Victory Cannon opens at the Albert County Museum in Hopewell Cape, New Brunswick. The exhibit highlights the life of Albert County born, Colonel Cyrus Peck, VC, DSO (1871-1956) who won the Victoria Cross on September 2, 1918 during the Second Battle of Arras. In addition, the exhibit tells the exciting story of the capture of the Vimy Gun, from its use on the battlefield to its final resting place in Hopewell Cape Square. Housed in a stylized First World War trench, complete with sandbags, and rusted corrugated steel, the exhibit creates a life-like setting for both parts of the exhibit.

A Living Memorial to Vimy Ridge Planted at the Museum

Jim Landry of Landscape NB/PEI with Vimy Oak in front of Albert County Courthouse

If you missed the planting of the Vimy Oak Tree yesterday at the Museum, not to fear you can still visit the oak tree at its new home on the museum grounds. We planted the tree across from the English Oak tree planted in 1937 in commemoration of the Coronation of King George VI in front of the majestic county courthouse. The tree is planted with a direct view of our gun which was captured at Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917 and won by Albert County in the 1919 Victory Loans Campaign. 

Our Vimy Oak was grown from scions cut from one of the original oak trees grown from acorns gathered at Vimy Ridge in 1917 by Lieutenant Leslie H. Miller. He planted his acorns at his farm in Ontario, which he eventually called Vimy Oaks Farm.

After the battle of Vimy Ridge all but one oak tree was destroyed, so the Vimy Oaks Legacy Corporation was formed and began the project to repatriate the Vimy Oaks to Vimy Ridge in 2015. Our tree was originally slated to be planted at Vimy Ridge, but due to soil regulations was unable to be planted there. The project then sent over acorns from the Vimy Oaks in Ontario to France and and are growing them there. Our Vimy Oak tree is one of 250 that are going to be planted across Canada, and was the first to be planted in New Brunswick. 

The day was made more profound as it was 100 years to the day that Lieutenant Louis Stanley Edgett from Hillsborough, NB died of wounds suffered from a counter-attack at Vimy Ridge on May 10, 1917. You can read more about him here. 

With special thanks to the people who made this project possible: The Liptay Family for purchasing the tree, Jim Landry at Landscape NB/PEI for having the foresight to obtain 40 trees for NB and PEI, Kim Wilmot of Ayles Natural Landscaping from Riverview for helping with the planting and subsequent care of the tree and the Vimy Oaks Legacy Corporation for making the whole thing possible. 

Thanks to the large number of people who attended the planting, along with the dignitaries present, our MLA Brian Kierstead, and representatives from the Hillsborough Legion Branch 132 President Keith Steeves, and Riverview Veterans Association President Peter Jubb. 

Come Help Us Plant a VIMY RIDGE Oak Tree - Wednesday, May 10 @ 3pm

We're pleased to announce that on Wednesday, May 10, 2017 we will be planting a Vimy Oak tree in commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. The tree was made available through the Vimy Oaks Legacy Project with the cooperation of Landscape NB/PEI.  The Vimy Oak Trees were grown from scions cut from oak trees grown from acorns gathered on the Vimy Battlefield by Lieutenant Leslie H. Miller in 1917. The planting will take place during the Anglophone East School District Heritage Fair.

After the Battle at Vimy Ridge was won, many soldiers realized that they had been part of something truly great. Lieutenant Leslie H. Miller, born in 1889 in Milliken, ON, looked around for a souvenir on the Ridge, which was completely devoid of structures or vegetation due to shell fire but he did find a half buried oak tree. He gathered up a handful of acorns.

Those acorns were subsequently planted by him on his farm which he called ‘Vimy Oaks Farm’ and are now large majestic oaks. The First World War wiped out all but one native oak in the Vimy region, and the Vimy Oaks Legacy Project was created to repatriate the native oaks to Vimy Ridge to create a living memorial to honour the memory of all those who fought, connecting modern Canada and modern France, and reaffirming our comradeship with France and her people.

Arborist collecting scions.

Arborist collecting scions.

In January 2015, the process began with professional arborists taking cuttings (scions) from the crowns of the oaks which were grafted onto base root stock – Quercus robur. Today, the trees are almost 5 feet tall and are ready for their journey back to France and to various places across Canada.  

Landscape NB & PEI was able to obtain 40 trees out of a stock of 200 from the foundation and brought them to New Brunswick to be shared across the two provinces. In April, they sent out a request for appropriate locations to plant them and were overwhelmed with requests.

When asked about the Vimy Oaks Legacy project, Executive Director of Landscape NB&PEI, Jim Landry said, “Last June I had the opportunity to visit the grave of my great uncle and his best friend who were both killed at the battle. Also, I have worked my entire life in the horticulture industry. This project links those two things together so beautifully. “.

A Vimy Oak at the Nursery

A Vimy Oak at the Nursery

Stuart Liptay, President of the Albert County Historical Society says, “We were fortunate that Brunswick Limestone out of Hillsborough, NB contacted us about the potential for getting one of the Vimy Oaks through Landscape NB&PEI, as we had no idea some were even available. I immediately called Jim Landry at Landscape NB&PEI and asked him for a tree. Once Jim heard the story about our Vimy Ridge gun he was really excited about the prospect.” Liptay went on to say,” The museum is in the process of restoring a gun that was captured at Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917. The gun was captured by the 27th Battalion at Vimy Ridge and was awarded to Albert County in the 1919 Victory Loans Competition. The addition of a living oak tree descended from the great oak trees at Vimy Ridge is an amazing addition to the story of our Vimy Gun.”

The oak tree is going to be planted across from an English Oak which was planted in 1939 to commemorate the Royal Visit of King George VI and his wife, Queen Elizabeth when they toured across Canada by train. The two oak trees, one from England and one with roots at Canada’s great battle in France are a great symbol of unity for our country in its 150th year.

The planting ceremony will take place at the Albert County Museum on Wednesday, May 10 at 3pm just before the awards ceremony for the Anglophone East School District Regional Heritage Fair. Viewing of the Heritage Fair projects begins at 2pm and is open to the public. The Heritage Fair highlights projects developed by middle school students around historical and heritage related themes.

We hope to see a crowd out on Wednesday afternoon!

Excellent Time-line Photos of the Vimy Gun! Adding to the story!

We have recently received some amazing photos of the Guns in Hopewell Cape which really helps in the guns timeline! One in particular from the photo collection of Verna Beaumont shows the Vimy Gun on May 9, 1943 sporting its green coat of paint. So we know from two dated photos the cannon was painted between 1935 and 1943 from the original camouflage colors to an army green. The cannons would stay green until they were refurbished at Gagetown in 1989 when they were painted grey.  

Cyril Cook in Seaman's Uniform, May 9, 1943 with unidentified man in Air Force uniform. 

Hopewell Vimy Gun Circa 1935  - Cyril Cook is in this Photo

Early Photos Circa 1920 of the Vimy Cannon in Hopewell Cape.

Special thanks to Justin Raworth who shared the images of the cannon from 1920 and Terry Smith, who shared  the pictures of Cyril Cook from his Mother's photo collection (Verna Beaumont). Cyril Cook was her uncle. Both pictures are dated 9 May 1943.

Amazing Photo Collection of Vimy Gun in Hopewell Cape - Circa 1935

We have just received some amazing photos of the Hopewell Cape Vimy Gun from the family photo collection of Susan Richardson. With special thanks to Kevin Snair of Creative Imagery for scanning and sending them to us! Five are from the 1930s and one from the 1960s. The photo of the five boys on the Hopewell Cape Vimy Ridge Gun is from 1935 and shows Douglas Higgins, Burton Fownes, Vernon Fownes, Cyril Cook and Harold Bishop on the gun. Isn't the camouflage paint job amazing!

Douglas Higgins, Burton Fownes, Vernon Fownes, Cyril Cook and Harold Bishop Circa 1935

Douglas Higgins, Burton Fownes, Vernon Fownes, Cyril Cook and Harold Bishop Circa 1935

Come join us LIVE tomorrow on Facebook as we walk through the capture of our Vimy Ridge Gun at 12 Noon

Come join us LIVE tomorrow April 9, 2017 on Facebook as we walk through the capture of our Vimy Ridge Gun at 12 Noon. We will discuss the capture and how the gun arrived in Hopewell Cape, and the amazing story behind it. The Hopewell Cape Vimy Ridge Victory Cannon is one amazing story, don't miss it!

Early Photo of Vimy Ridge Cannon Discovered at Museum - The Cannon Arrived in Hopewell Cape 97 Years Ago Today

Cannon Captured at Vimy Ridge on Display at Hopewell Cape Square Circa 1920 - Sheriff Ernest W. Lynds in photo. 

We have recently uncovered what maybe the earliest photo of the First World War Trophy Cannons located in Hopewell Cape. This cannon was captured at the Battle of Vimy Ridge - April 9, 1917 by Canadian Forces. On April 11, 1917 this cannon was turned on the enemy by the Royal Field Artillery. In the fall of 1919 this cannon was awarded to the people of Albert County for raising the highest percentage of money over their set goal for any area in the province during the Victory Loans Campaign of 1919. Their set goal was $110,000.00, and the people of Albert County raised $347,600.00. Three times the goal! (In today's dollars that is equivalent to $6.2 million. Not bad for a population of 8700 people!) The cannon arrived in Hopewell Cape on March 4, 1920 by train to Cape Station, and then by horse to Cape Square.

In the photo is Sheriff Ernest W. Lynds, and you can prominently see the plaque on the top left of the cannon stating how the cannon arrived in Albert County.  

Museum to Open “Steeves: 250 Years in Albert County” Exhibit and Make Major Steeves Family Announcement - May 21 @11 am

The Albert County Museum is excited to announce the Grand Opening of their Steeves: 250 Years in Albert County exhibit, on Saturday, May 21 at 11am. At the opening, the museum will be announcing a major component of the exhibit which has just been approved by Library and Archives Canada, to be ready in time for the Steeves Family Reunion in July. The day also marks the opening day at the museum (9:30am -5:30pm) and is also the first Weekly Farmers and Crafters Market hosted by Foods of the Fundy Valley (9am-1pm) of the season.  The weekly ‘Breakfast at the Museum’ (9am-noon) starts on the 21st as well.

The “Steeves: 250 years in Albert County” exhibitis planned as a special exhibit at the Albert County Museum which coincides with the 2016 Steeves 250 Family Reunion and is scheduled for exhibit for two years. A full gallery of the museum has be dedicated to this theme and includes displays of ‘all things Steeves’. The exhibit has been carefully selected from over 700 Steeves related artefacts in the museum collection, with each artefact on the display having some special historic significance. The highlight of the exhibit is the original 18th century clock that Heinrich and Regina Stief brought from Germany. [photo enclosed]

The exhibit is arranged chronologically, leading the visitor through the story of the Steeves family and their significance in, not only, Albert County’s history, but Canada’s history. A few of the members of the Steeves family that will be included are: William Henry Steeves, Father of Confederation; Simon Newcomb, Astronomer and Mathematician; Percy Hamilton Seymour, 18th Duke of Somerset; Dr. Esther Clark Wright, Author, Historian and Scholar; Jack Layton, former Leader of the Opposition.

2016 marks the Sestercentennial of the arrival of the Stief (Steeves) family and in celebration of this, the Steeves Family will be holding a reunion on a substantial scale.

The major announcement at the Grand Opening will relate the Steeves 250 Years in Albert County exhibit with the Museum's Victory Cannon Campaign, which is restoring the two First World War Trophy Cannons that sit in the square in Hopewell Cape.

The exhibit was made possible by partial funding from the province of New Brunswick, Heritage Branch.

The 2016 Victory Cannon Campaign Fundraiser

 

We are very pleased to introduce our 2016 fundraising effort for the Victory Cannon Campaign. Our goal is to raise the remaining $5000.00 of the total goal of $15,000.00. The Victory Cannon Campaign is raising funds to restore the First World War cannons located in the Square in Hopewell Cape. The two cannons were captured by Canadians during the First World War and awarded to the people of Albert County. The large cannon was won in the Victory Loans Campaign of 1919, for raising the greatest percentage over our set goal. The second cannon was awarded for Albert County having the largest number of men per capita enlist in the CEF in Canada. 

We were fortunate to have noted local artist, Norm Bradford agree to paint an original painting depicting our cannons, which we will be raffling off. Tickets will be $10.00 each with a limit of 600 tickets sold, and will go on sale Opening Day at the Museum (May 21), with sales continuing until all are sold or the draw date at our at our Annual General Meeting in October. The odds of winning are fantastic! (1 in 600 if all the tickets sell). 

Here is Norm's amazing painting, and below it are his comments on it. Please be generous and buy tickets!

The Spoils of War

As an artist who needs to convey a message and emotion through his art, I had to take my time to study how we got to have these cannons, why they’re here in Hopewell Cape Museum and how much it cost us. I was overwhelmed by the cost and the bravery of our local boys who captured these cannons. Below is a description of some of the symbolism in my creation. It took me a long time to plan this painting. I took lots of pictures, visits and composition planning to bring this painting to fruition.

The Cannons: As a realist, the cannons are recognizable, detailed and are central to this work. They are angled in such a way that your eye is drawn to the ghostly young WW1 soldier leaning on a strong maple tree, blowing taps in recognition of the of brave Albert County boys who gave their lives in the First World War, where these German Cannons were captured. The cannons were given to Albert County by Canada in recognition of those who fought, and from the 1919 Victory Loans Campaign.

The ghost: The young man is depicted as half ghost and half solid. He casts a shadow and the light reflects off his clothing. His uniform is what he would have worn at the time of the capture of these cannons. He is gone, but he is still here “lest we forget” the cost in human lives it took to have these “spoils”. He is standing straight and proud against a straight and proud maple tree (a symbolism for Canada).

The dramatic sky: The dark purple, threatening, ominous clouds of war are broken by a ray of hope lighting up the landscape and separating the foreground from the darker background. This ray in a small patch of blue sky signifies victory, hope, pride, freedom, and a brighter future thanks to our young men’s sacrificed and triumph. This light is of utmost importance in this painting. This sky was captured in a picture taken by Doran Milton recently just after a terrible downpour that flooded roads and fields. The light that it cast on the foreground (cows) helped me bring this whole painting together. It was central to bringing the emotion, the drama and the story together.

The background: Although the background is dark and treed, the buildings of the shire are recognizable although not to scale, not in the proper disposition. This an artist can do and no photographer can. The buildings have the light of the illusive sun also separating them from the dark green background. Bennett’s monument and plaques are also in view and centrally located.

The red poppies: although, there are no poppies in reality, they are in the painting to again remind the visitors that these cannons were not easy spoil, but won by many sacrifices.

Respectfully,

Norm Bradford