Pre­serv­ing P.E.I. history

Bed­eque Area His­tor­i­cal Mu­seum’s sec­ond floor is now open and fea­tures Howard Clark’s col­lec­tion

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY ANCELENE MACKIN­NON TC MEDIA

Bed­eque Area His­tor­i­cal Mu­seum’s sec­ond floor is now open and fea­tures Howard Clark’s col­lec­tion.

Howard Clark was un­sure of the fate of his ex­ten­sive ar­ti­fact col­lec­tion in his Red Barn Mu­seum when he was no longer able to live in his home due to de­clin­ing health.

Luck­ily, he wasn’t forced to auc­tion off his more than 4,000 items in 2010 be­cause the Bed­eque Area His­tor­i­cal Mu­seum was to open around that time.

This is the mu­seum’s fourth sum­mer sea­son, and it re­cently marked the open­ing of the sec­ond floor area, which fea­tures items from Clark’s col­lec­tion on dis­play for the first time.

Clark was born in Chel­ton in 1924. At 19 years old, he en­listed in the RCA Med­i­cal Corp., where he served as a nurs­ing or­derly aboard the hos­pi­tal ship, the Lady Nel­son, from 1943 un­til 1946.

He re­turned to his home­town af­ter the Sec­ond World War, and his en­thu­si­asm for col­lect­ing re­ally be­gan as he gath­ered ar­ti­facts of the life and history of Chel­ton, and or­ga­nized ex­hibits that dis­played Is­land life be­fore the war.

Chair­man of the board of di­rec­tors of the Bed­eque Area His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety, Tom Sherry, said Clark’s do­nated col­lec­tion laid the foun­da­tion for the mu­seum.

“He has col­lected over 4,000 items in his life­time. That is a ma­jor col­lec­tion.”

Sherry said pre­serv­ing history is some­thing he and Clark have in com­mon.

“It was a hobby of his even be­fore he went into the war. He could see things were be­ing tossed aside and history was be­ing lost. He made it his life pas­sion to save and col­lect a lot of dif­fer­ent items.”

Some of Howard’s items in the sec­ond-floor dis­play area in­clude ev­ery­thing from wrenches, nuts and bolts, car parts, an out­house seat, and other home items from the 1800s.

About 100 peo­ple at­tended the open­ing, and Sherry has heard a lot of pos­i­tive feed­back.

“They’re ex­tremely pleased with the way it has been dis­played. See­ing items they grew up with or their grand­par­ents may have had, and know­ing they’re pre­served is the big thing.”

The mu­seum also has more than 1,500 items in the Call­beck col­lec­tion, and the gen­eral public has do­nated about 250 items, he added.

The Bed­eque Area His­tor­i­cal mu­seum is open Tues­days through Satur­days from 10 a.m. un­til 5 p.m., and Sun­days from 12 un­til 5 p.m.

SALLY COLE/THE GUARDIAN

Sum­mer guide Nigel Waite shows an an­tique wood planer, dur­ing a tour of the re­cently opened sec­ond floor dis­play area of the Bed­eque Area His­tor­i­cal Mu­seum. It’s part of the col­lec­tion of Howard Clark cur­rently on dis­play at the mu­seum. De­scribed as a “col­lec­tor ex­traor­di­naire” he cre­ated ex­hibits that re­called life on the Is­land be­fore the Sec­ond World War.

SALLY COLE/THE GUARDIAN

Sum­mer guide Nigel Waite shows an ice box. It’s part of the col­lec­tion of Howard Clark cur­rently on dis­play at the mu­seum.

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