Preserving P.E.I. history
Bedeque Area Historical Museum’s second floor is now open and features Howard Clark’s collection
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.
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.
Summer guide Nigel Waite shows an ice box. It’s part of the collection of Howard Clark currently on display at the museum.