© Lisa Buchanan photo
Patrick Brannen watches as Mary Lee Gonzaga prepares a pastry at last year's Ross-Thomson House and Store Museum animation by the Shelburne Reenactment Association.
By Sue Deschene
Last year's first-ever Christmas reenactment at Shelburne's Ross-Thomson House and Store Museum was such a popular draw that the museum is repeating the event this year, only in the fall.
On Saturday, Oct. 19, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Ross-Thomson will be animated by the Shelburne Reenactment Association. Reenactors will demonstrate various 18th century activities like spinning wool, making butter and preparing and serving food.
Samantha Brannen, a member of the Shelburne Reenactment Association, is coordinating volunteers for this year's animation. One goal of the reenactment association, she says, is to present Loyalist activities in a historically authentic way. Events like the fall reenactment provide a perfect opportunity to do just that.
Brannen says she plans to have reenactors portraying staff in the store, as well as customers. She also hopes to have two men portraying the brothers and original store merchants, George and Robert Ross.
Reenactors will be animating history by doing what people did, much the way they did it, 200 years ago: spinning wool, making soap and candles, cooking soup, doing meal preparation, dining at the table and making cider to hand out to visitors.
“All of this is completely volunteer by the Shelburne Reenactment Association,” Brannen explains. “We really try to emphasize our role in experiential tourism for the area. We do what we do on a completely volunteer basis, at great expense to the group and to our members. We like what we do, but we do it because there's a need for it.
“People were really happy to see it last year ... and people are interested in seeing it. This is part of our commitment to work to increase visitor traffic to our local museums. It encourages and fosters a new interest in history.”
The Shelburne Reenactment Association is always looking for new members. Anyone interested in finding out more can talk to one of the reenactors at the Oct. 19 event, or check out their website at http://3njv.webs.com/.
On Friday, Oct. 25, from 7 to 9 p.m., the Shelburne County Museum will be hosting its second annual Spook Night.
In celebration of Halloween, the museum is inviting folks to drop by and tell ghost stories. Have you experienced a ghostly encounter, or do you know a favourite tale of the unknown? Come down to the museum, share your experience and hear readings of local ghostly events.
Admission to both activities is by donation. Everyone is welcome.