Preserving the past
Highland Village comes back to life June 1
It took hard work and tenacity on the part of dedicated volunteers to create the Highland Village in Iona, the only living history museum for Gaelic language and heritage in North America.
Director Rodney Chaisson and his staff continue to build on that commitment to foster and preserve Gaelic culture.
Visitors to Highland Village are offered the opportunity to step back in time and experience the lives of the Gaels from their pre-emigration homes in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland commencing in the late 1700s to post First World War in Nova Scotia.
For the last four or five years, Chaisson said the main focus has been on programming, visitor experience, and moving to first person.
“Basically every aspect of the Gaels from those eras, that’s what we try to bring to life at Highland Village,” he said. “We’ve been really working on growing the story and experience since we joined Nova Scotia Museum to provide more of a cultural emersion and build on folk life skills.”
There are also big plans for ongoing site development.
“We brought the church here in 2003 and our reconstructed log cabin will be ready for the June 1 opening.”
Referring to the dedicated staff that has been with the Highland Village, some for over 30 years, Chaisson said they have an understanding of how the village has evolved over the years and can pass this on to some of the newer staff.
Highland Village opens for the season June 1 and features a fairly ambitious schedule of events that will take place over the summer.
“We are going to continue with the work we’ve been doing on first person with our staff,” he said. “We are bringing back the candlelight tours and are going to do some old time school dances in the schoolhouse. We are also going to bring back our traditional codfish supper in August, so I guess there is a little bit new and a little bit of old from the past.”
Visit www.highlandvillage.ca for more information on programs, anniversary celebrations or the history of the organization.
RIGHT: Aileen MacLean is shown sitting outside the Black House at the Nova Scotia Highland Village, Hector’s Point in Iona.
Highland Village staff Matthew Moore and Phyllis Williams enjoy a cup of tea in the MacIver/Nash house.