A New Approach to Local History
While much of the history of our local area tends to be enclosed with the walls of the Fredericton Region Museum, in the spring of 2009 we saw a new approach to making history more available to the people. An inspiration from A. Fred White, a long time museum supporter, advanced the idea of having an exhibit outside the museum at a high traffic location. The location chosen was the Trail Visitors Centre on Station Road in South Devon which had over 84,000 people pass in 2008. The exhibit chosen was the story of the Mouth of the Nashwaak.
Through a grant from the City of Fredericton provided by the Cultural Capitals festivities the Fredericton Region Museum was able to mount a panel display of this historic neighbourhood. The display includes several historic pictures and photos beginning with Fort Nashwaak, and also including Andersons Fur Fort, the New England Settlers, Loyalists, Alexander Gibson’s Industries, the Gibson Fire, aerial photos from 1929 and 1972 and a list of names of residents of Devon from the directories of 1926, 40, 41 and 44. This is a display which is sure to interest a wide group of visitors.
This project was been made possible through the research of Carol Randall and Robert McNeil who have recently published several books on Devon and Northside Fredericton. Mr. McNeil curated the exhibit and provided the information on the panels. Mr. McNeil’s family has lived in the vicinity since 1783. He and his wife, Marianne, have raised their six children in Devon. Robert is a graduate of St. Thomas University and the University of New Brunswick. He is now retired after teaching several years in New Brunswick schools.
Thanks to the City of Fredericton, Fredericton Tourism and Bartlett Designs. As well, a big thank you for Perfect Parties by Nancy for helping the Fredericton Region Museum plan and execute the opening on short notice since we decided to have it on International Trail Day 2009! It was a perfect day!!