Bowater artifacts have a home in Queens museum

Brittany W. Verge
Published on August 7, 2014

The Queens County Museum is bursting at the seams with all of its new artifacts.  Most of the new ones are from the former Bowater Mersey Paper Company.

The offices in the former mill were littered with carvings, paintings, and photographs pertaining to Queens County.  Most of those items are now in the hands of the museum.

“We were interested in getting a lot of the photographs and we did,” says Linda Rafuse, manager of the Queens County Museum.

Rafuse says some of the highlights of their new collection are photographs from the building of the mill, original furniture from the offices and board rooms at the mill, and pieces of art work including two paintings of the iconic privateer vessels – The Liverpool Packet and the Rover.

Much of the art work used to hang in the original brick office buildings at the mill site.

The museum’s summer student is working on compiling and cataloguing the photographs. Rafuse says there are probably nearly a thousand photographs in the collection.

Most of the artifacts are in the Thomas H. Raddall Research Centre but a display on the Markland Shipping Company is in the main gallery of the museum, complete with a model of one of the vessels.

Rafuse started acquiring the artifacts in Feb. 2014 and had been working with the provincial government to get the pieces since shortly after the closure of the paper mill.

Rafuse felt it was important to get the pieces and keep them in the county for the locals who worked there.

“Bowater played such a big role, that alone contained so much history,” says Rafuse. “Knowing how many generations of families worked in there… there’s just so much history from one end of the county to the other with Bowater.”

The remaining pieces finally went to their new homes a couple weeks ago.  Some items went to the Nova Scotia Archives and some to the Museum of Industry in Stellarton. 

The museum has seen quite a few changes this year already with the building and debut of the Liverpool Packet display but Rafuse says everything is settling down.

“Now we’re going to focus on finishing up on the Bowater acquisition,” says Rafuse.

The Bowater artifacts will be on display at an open house on Nov. 22, 2014.  Rafuse says that is the closest date they can plan to the opening of the mill in 1929.

The open house will be from 1 – 4 p.m. and Rafuse hopes former mill employees and the community will come out to see the collection.