Heritage Society telling story of resettlement

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George Lee, local genealogist with MHA Tracy Perry and summer tour guide Jessica Lee in the exhibit room in the Piercey Heritage House. The exhibit showcases the resettled communities on the South Coast of Newfoundland.


Resettlement. It is a word with many emotions. It is a word symbolizing change. It congers to the mind the dying of small isolated outport communities that had once dotted Newfoundland and Labrador’s many coves, bays and inlets.

It brings to mind the years of Joey Smallwood and his policy to resettle/consolidate the population of Newfoundland into the larger centers as a way to provide services at a “cheaper” cost. It is symbolized by houses moved by water from rugged isolated landscapes, homes left behind.  It is a story that has many chapters, touched so many lives.

The Heritage Society of Milltown-Head Bay d’Espoir has recognized the importance of telling the story of resettlement from the small isolated south coast communities of Grole, Round Harbour, Pushthrough Muddy Hole, etc. These are but a few, there are many more.

The Heritage Society has begun work on an online exhibit to capture and preserve the distinct cultural, economic, and social way of life that made up the fabric of these unique places. The exhibit will be called, “Resettlement, the Bay d’Espoir Experience”.

The Heritage Society has hired Melissa Willcott , a history major currently attending the University of Toronto, to compile the collected data and create the storyline for the online exhibit. She will be working at the Town Museum from Monday to Friday during business hours, and welcomes all interested visitors to stop by and visit the museum.

Recently, our MHA, Ms. Tracy Perry stopped by the museum to meet Melissa, and to “catch-up” with what the Heritage Society has been doing over the last little while. She also took time to revisit the Piercey Heritage Home and meet one of this year’s student tour guides, Jessica Lee.

Jessica Lee and Hailey Kearley will be working at the Piercey Heritage House from Wednesday to Sunday, 12 noon until 7pm, closing for a supper break at quarter to five. Ms Perry said of the visit, “The Heritage Society of Milltown-Head Bay d’Espoir is doing fantastic work!

The Piercey House and Museum at the Town Hall are a “must-see”, preserving a special way of life and telling the story of resettlement along the South Coast.

  Ms. Perry, who has long been supportive of the development of tourism related initiatives in the South Coast region, said, “A great deal of work has gone into this initiative by a very small group of dedicated, enthusiastic volunteers, and I’d like to thank them so much for capturing our history

Funding for part of this project has been made possible through a contribution from the Young Canada Works in Heritage Organization program, Department of Canadian Heritage. The Canadian Museums Association administers the museum component of the YWC program on behalf of the Department of Canadian Heritage. The Heritage Society of Milltown-Head Bay d’Espoir also received contract funding through the Federal department of Canadian Heritage; the Canadian Heritage Information Network program “Community Memories” which is a collection of online virtual museum exhibits accessible all across Canada and worldwide. Funding support was also provided by the Town Council of Milltown-Head Bay d’Espoir with “in-kind” contributions.


Organizations: The Heritage Society, Department of Canadian Heritage, South Coast University of Toronto Town Museum Piercey Heritage House Piercey House and Museum Young Canada Works Heritage Organization Canadian Museums Association Canadian Heritage Information Network Town Council

Geographic location: Milltown-Head Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, Round Harbour Canada

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