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Museums in Victoria County

Nova Scotia Highland Village Museum, Iona

A living museum that recreates the 200 year hsitory of Scottish settlement in Cape Breton. The Highland Village depicts the life of Gaelic-speaking Scots in Nova Scotia. Experience their language, singing, dancing as a reminder of the simple joys that were treasured and that have preserved the Gaelic culture. Inside the 43 acre village, ten restored historic buildings reflect the various periods of the history of the Scottish settlers and communities. See costumed animators demonstrate weaving, rug hooking, soap making and blacksmithing. Set high on a hillside, the village also provides panoramic views of the Bras d'Or Lakes and surrounding countryside. The Highland Village is home to the Roots Cape Breton Genealogy Centre & Family History Centre. A number of great events will take place at this village this summer including Codfish Suppers, Highland Village Day and the Barraman's Feast 2002 - July 28-August 4th. Open May 18- October 20.

St. Paul's Island Lighthouse & Museum, Dingwall, NS

Canada’s ocean shoreline, at 243,000 kilometers, is the longest in the world. Just minutes off the world famous Cabot Trail, you will find Canada’s first and only federally designated “heritage” lighthouse on any of Canada’s three oceans. Built in 1915 and relocated to Dingwall in 2010, the St. Paul South West Lighthouse is also the first cast iron lighthouse constructed in Canada.

The lighthouse is a standing tribute to the Lightkeepers and their families. Climb the stairs and view the rotating clockwork and rare Fresenel lens. Step back in time to when seamen and vessels relied on lighthouses for navigation. Experience what life was like on a isolated island; the storms and hardships and viewing the artifacts by hearing their stories and viewing the artifacts in our museum located besides the light.

Open 7 days a week during season, 10:00 am. – 5:00 pm. Tel: 902-285-0304. Guided Tours. Free Admission & Gift Shop. Located at 575 Dingwall Road, Dingwall, Nova Scotia B0C 1G0

Bras d'Or Lakes & Watershed Interpretative Centre

Located in the Old Post Office on Chebucto street. Six interactive modules present the ecology of the lakes "through the eyes of an eagle": detailed geomatics, including satellite imaging,; audio/visual representation of a myriad of biodiversity issues. Open June- October daily 9:30 am. - 7:30 pm. Admission adult $2.00, seniors $1.50, child $1.00.

Great Hall of Clans, Gaelic College

Scottish history and culture from early times to the present, including a brief account of the Great Migration form the Highlands, which gave Cape Breton its Scottish character. Figures in traditional dress represent the Clans who first settled the area. Craft shop specializes in Scottish gifts, tartans, Gaelic text books and reading material. Open June 15- October 15. Daily 8:30 am. -5:00 pm. Admission $2.50.

Giant MacAskill Museum, Englishtown

Artifacts belonging to the Angus MacAskill, the Cape Breton Giant who stood 7 ft. 9 in. tall. His chair, clothing, bed, boot and walking sticks and grist mill grist mill. Also on display are other articles of human interest dating as far back as the early 1800s. Included within the museum is a small genealogy centre containing a family tree of the MacAskill family, with limited information on other residents in the area. Giant MacAskill died in 1813. His grave is in the Englishtown cemetery nearby. Open Mid-June to mid-September Daily - 9:00 am. - 6:00 pm. Admission - adults $2.00, Seniors & Youth $15.0, under 12 $1.00.

Little River Fisheries & Heritage Museum, Little River
A museum featuring artifacts and photographs of the fishing industry along the North Shore dating back to the 1800's. Situated at Little River Harbour. Also on display are other artifacts on the heritage and culture of the area. Trails and a sandy beach adjacent to the museum. ice cream available at the museum. Open by appointment only. Check with fishermen down at Little River Wharf.

North Highlands Community Museum, Cape North

The museum opened its doors on July 2, 1979. The museum is a split-log structure built entirely by local craftsmen in a style reminiscent of pioneer homes that once existed in this area. It was built to retain, preserve and protect the rich cultural heritage of Northern Cape Breton. Many families generously donated and lent papers, artifacts, written and oral history to build a picture of the past for future generations.
The Northern Cape Breton area has a rich diversity of settlement and cultural context. It was originally a Mi'kmaq summer hunting ground. The early Italian explorer John Cabot was credited with sailing into Aspy Bay in 1497. A cairn in his honour is located at Cabot's Landing Provincial Park. Early settlers in the area were of French, English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh extraction. Landed immigration arrived from counties as far away as Syria as well as many Empire Loyalists from the USA. Later marriages in the area confirm Central and Eastern European cultural presence.

The photograph collection, artifacts and papers illustrate the way of life experienced by the early settlers. Life was not easy for those settling in the Northern Highlands of Cape Breton in the early 1800s. Most families were self-sufficient and lived off the harvest from the sea and land. There is a display that retells the tragic story of the ship, Auguste. The ship was shipwrecked off Dingwall in 1761. Stories of many other shipwrecks of the area are an intriguing part of the heritage of the area.

The museum also houses a small archive which contains articles and books such as Records of the National Gypsum Co., MacDonald Bros. Day Books, the Lobster Factory Record Book, school registers, various diaries and church histories as well as information on old post offices and land grants. The archive is accessible by request. Extensive Genealogy Records of many pioneer families are available in paper or computer format.

Information centre. Open June 3 - October 6, 10:00 am. - 6:00 pm. Admission is free; donations welcome.