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Archive for January 8th, 2015

Entrance to the Maritime Museum of he Atlantic

Entrance to the Maritime Museum of he Atlantic

It’s one of the most moving experiences of visiting Nova Scotia. The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic must be visited if you want to understand the history of Halifax. Located in downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia, it is the oldest and largest maritime museum in Canada with a collection of over 30,000 artifacts including 70 small craft and a steamship: the CSS Acadia, a 180 foot steam-powered hydrographic survey ship launched in 1913.

The museum is located on the waterfront and one can be fooled regarding the size of it when entering the building. The large area in front of you is only a small portion of what is contained there. The museum was founded in 1948. It was first known as the Maritime Museum of Canada and located at HMC Dockyard, the naval base on Halifax Harbor. The museum moved through several locations over the next three decades before its current building was constructed in 1981 as part of a waterfront redevelopment program. The museum received the CSS Acadia in 1982. Today the museum is part of the Nova Scotia Museum system.

Just one of the exhibits on the main floor

Just one of the exhibits on the main floor

In addition to the over 30,000 artifacts, the museum also has a collection of 30,000 photographs as well as a large collection of charts and rare books. A reference library, open to the public, is named after the Museum’s founding director, The Niels Jannasch Library. The museum has Canada’s largest collection of ship portraits including the oldest ship portrait in Canada as well as a large collection of ship models including the original production models of the television show Theodore Tugboat. Ongoing restoration of Whim, a 1937 C-Class sloop can be found in one of the boatsheds on the wharf behind the museum. In addition to this current restoration project, the boatsheds house some of the museum’s small craft collection. During the summer months three boats in the working small craft collection can be found moored next to CSS Acadia.

Public galleries include the Days of Sail, the Age of Steam, Small Craft, the Canadian Navy, the Halifax Explosion, and Shipwrecks. A special permanent exhibit explores the sinking of RMS Titanic with an emphasis on Nova Scotia’s connection to recovering the bodies of Titanic victims. The museum has the world’s foremost collection of wooden artifacts from Titanic, including one of the few surviving deck chairs. The Titanic exhibit also includes a child’s pair of shoes which helped identify Titanic’s “unknown child” as Sidney Leslie Goodwin. The Age of Steam gallery includes a special display on Samuel Cunard, the Nova Scotian who created the Cunard Line.

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