Fund­ing for the Fox Moth

Multi-us­age mu­seum and her­itage cen­tre serves many com­mu­nity needs

The Pilot - - Front Page - BY KAREN WELLS

With a pop­u­la­tion of be­tween 900 to 1,000 res­i­dents, Nor­ris Arm would be considered a small town, but the his­tory of the com­mu­nity re­flects a past in­dica­tive of how var­ied and vi­tal the area has been over the years.

The Fox Moth Mu­seum and Her­itage Cen­tre em­braces that his­tory and over the past three to four years, has av­er­aged 9,000 vis­i­tors per sea­son.

The mu­seum/cen­tre board, made up of vol­un­teers from the com­mu­nity, is al­ways look­ing for ways to im­prove and en­hance the dis­plays and the build­ing it­self, which opened in 2008.

Not­ing that her­itage and cul­ture im­pact on tourism, thus pro­vid­ing the com­mu­nity with more jobs and new busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties, fund­ing in the amount of $128,000 has been made avail­able to the mu­seum/cen­tre through fed­eral (In­no­va­tive Com­mu­ni­ties Fund and Cana­dian Her­itage Canada Cul­ture Spa­ces Fund) and provin­cial fund­ing.

Fund­ing for this project will go to­wards up­grades to heat­ing, light­ing, sound and elec­tri­cal sys­tems, as well as en­hance­ments to mu­seum dis­plays and stag­ing.

“This fund­ing will en­able the so­ci­ety to reach its goals of ex­tend­ing our tourism sea­son, to de­velop hands-on learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence to help ed­u­cate vis­i­tors of all ages on lo­cal his­tory, pro­vide a more suit­able venue for the per­form­ing arts by pro­vid­ing up­grades to light­ing, sound, as well as en­hance­ments to stag­ing, im­prove seat­ing for pa­trons dur­ing din­ner the­atre events,” said board chair­per­son Fred Budgell. “With­out this fund­ing, it would be im­pos­si­ble to com­plete these en­hance­ments to our fa­cil­ity.”


Board trea­surer Cyril Lang­don said the Fox Moth Mu­seum and Her­itage Cen­tre is a mul­tiuse build­ing.

“We can con­vert from a full­time mu­seum to an events fa­cil­ity within an hour,” he said. “Af­ter this year all of our ar­ti­facts and dis­plays will be mo­bile, so it’s just a mat­ter of mov­ing ev­ery­thing off to the sides, pulling screens across, and we are ready to go for a func­tion such as a din­ner the­atre, con­cert, book sign­ing or com­mu­nity event.”

The mu­seum fea­tures 3,000 feet of dis­play space. When con­verted to an event cen­tre, the Fox Moth can ac­com­mo­date 120 peo­ple for a din­ner the­atre (with ta­bles) or 200 for a con­cert.

The hope is to ex­tend the sea­son for hold­ing events from April to De­cem­ber. Lang­don ex­plained this hadn’t been pos­si­ble in the past, due to the pro­hib­i­tive costs of heat­ing the build­ing. With the new heat­ing sys­tem those costs will be low­ered, mak­ing it pos­si­ble to host events pos­si­bly nine months of the year, de­pend­ing on weather. The road lead­ing to the Fox Moth is quite steep and snow clear­ing is an is­sue on this slope, so once the snow falls it will sig­nal the end of the sea­son, said Lang­don.


The “fly­ing boat” (sea­plane) his­tory of Nor­ris Arm dates to the 1930s-40s, when the com­mu­nity was a hub for this mode of travel. The Fox Moth was de­signed to look like a hangar and con­structed in the foot­print of the ac­tual hangar once lo­cated there.

While the avi­a­tion his­tory is on dis­play at the mu­seum, there is much more to ex­plore.

There is an area re­lated to an ar­chae­ol­ogy dis­cov­ery at nearby Rat­tling Brook. In 2005 a dig was con­ducted and around 6,000 ar­ti­facts were un­earthed, dat­ing back some 5,000 years ago to the Mar­itime Ar­chaic. Lang­don noted there wasn’t time to ex­plore the full area des­ig­nated for the dig be­cause the site re­vealed too many ar­ti­facts.

Lang­don said many In­dige­nous groups fre­quented the area over the years, not­ing they came there as it was a good source for salmon.

While the ar­ti­facts are lo­cated at The Rooms in St. John’s, Lang­don said the Fox Moth is loaned about a dozen of those ar­ti­facts each tourism sea­son (from June to Labour Day) to dis­play. A por­tion of the re­cent fund­ing will be uti­lized to up­grade and ex­pand this area of the mu­seum.

An­other area they are look­ing to im­prove is the mil­i­tary room, which fea­tures photos, doc­u­ments, uni­forms and other items from those who have served or serve in the mil­i­tary. Any­one look­ing to loan/do­nate items to this ex­hibit is en­cour­aged to do so.

The mu­seum also fea­tures dis­play ar­eas ded­i­cated to the old school days, com­mu­nity his­tory, log­ging/forestry and the rail­way.

“Up un­til the 1890s the rail­way ended at Nor­ris Arm and that’s where all sup­plies for Notre Dame Bay would come through Nor­ris Arm and be taken by boat to the ar­eas,” Lang­don said.

The hope is that as im­prove­ments and up­grades are made, the Fox Moth will at­tract even more vis­i­tors and events, al­low­ing them to look at ex­tend­ing their mu­seum tourism sea­son be­yond the sum­mer months (June to Labour Day) when fund­ing is avail­able to hire mu­seum staff.

Coast of Bays-Cen­tral-Notre Dame MP Scott Simms said, “The Fox Moth Mu­seum and Her­itage Cen­tre is a key piece of tourism in­fra­struc­ture in Nor­ris Arm. These up­grades al­low an ex­panded op­er­at­ing sea­son and en­hance the ca­pac­ity of the com­mu­nity to seize new op­por­tu­ni­ties for sus­tain­able growth and di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion in a strate­gic sec­tor of the lo­cal econ­omy.”


The Fox Moth Mu­seum and Her­itage Cen­tre in Nor­ris Arm.


The orig­i­nal hangar for the “fly­ing boats”. The Fox Moth Mu­seum and Her­itage Cen­tre was con­structed in the same lo­ca­tion.

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