Artifacts from the former Mersey Paper Company have found a home in the Queens County Museum.
© Brittany W. Verge
Linda Rafuse, manager of the Queens County Museum, stands next to photos of some of the original Mersey Paper Company employees. The museum is acquiring a collection of artifacts from the former mill site.
Linda Rafuse, manager of the museum, says the museum knew immediately when the mill closed that they wanted to acquire the artifacts.
“Our first instinctive thought was we needed to gather what we could to bring that history and keep that history together,” says Rafuse. “We felt that it was important for the people, the workers to keep that together.”
Rafuse approached the mill regarding original pieces from when the mill first opened in 1929. The descendants of many of the original workers in the mill still reside in Queens County and Rafuse believes they should have access to the history of the mill.
The artifacts went into the hands of the province of Nova Scotia and some are just now going to the Queens County Museum, the Museum of Industry in Stellerton, and the Nova Scotia Archives.
All three historical bodies agreed on who was receiving what artifacts. Rafuse’s main concern was for artifacts from the opening of the mill and photos of the former employees.
“We have already received half of the archival collection,” says Rafuse.
The museum has also received tables, chairs, desks, and cases that were used by the Mersey Paper Company. Rafuse says those pieces are a part of a “working display” as they are now furnishing the Thomas Raddall Research Centre.
Much of the archival collection comes to the museum in the form of photos of the mill site and its employees. Rafuse says the plan is to place the photos under glass on the tables given to them from the former mill and switch them up periodically. Some photos are already hanging on the walls along with some artwork.
Rafuse is hopeful the museum will be receiving more artwork in the coming weeks, including two paintings they are using for their new privateering display, which is currently under construction.
Former representatives from the unions CEP Local 141 (paperworkers) and CEP Local 259 (papermakers) have given some of their artifacts to the museum unprompted. Their original charters are amongst the pieces recently brought to the museum. More pieces from the unions are on their way and the museum will catalogue and collect them all.
“We are only too happy to receive (the collection),” says Rafuse.
Rafuse is hoping to have a show based around the artifacts when the museum is finished collecting and documenting all the pieces.
The former mill, most recently called Resolute, close in June 2012. The mill site is being managed by the Nova Scotia government and portions of it are in the process of being demolished.