The Perkins House Museum in Liverpool is set to re-open July 12 after six years of being closed to the public.
“It’s been a long road, a long old haul,” said Linda Rafuse, director of the Queens County Museum. “But the end result was worth every day that we’ve waited,” she added.
The Queens County Historical Society oversees the day-to-day operation of the facility for the Nova Scotia Museum.
The museum set an opening date of July 12 as a goal to get the finishing touches done to re-open, but Rafuse explained that if things weren’t quite ready they’ll postpone the opening until later in the week. The museum originally was set to open June 7, but due to the onslaught of the third wave of COVID-19 the opening was postponed.
The house was built in 1766 for community leader Simeon Perkins. It’s the oldest house in the Nova Scotia Museum system. It has been closed since 2015 due to structural stability issues.
The restoration of the home cost the province more than $2 million. Original plans began with just the installation of new support jacks to keep the walls from caving in, but it quickly became apparent that more work was needed.
Contractors began renovations last fall and work included new wiring, a new roof, a new heating and air-conditioning system, and some siding and structure work.
They finished the house near the end of May and plans were to have the furniture, which had been stored at the Port Mersey facility, moved back to the house, but further COVID-19 health restrictions pre-empted this.
“We were just making all the arrangements to move the furniture back to the house when the shutdown came,” said Rafuse.
As of June 30, all of the furniture had been returned and the staff was beginning to unpack boxes and set up the furnishings back to their original spots.
Nothing big is planned for opening day because of lingering restrictions, contrary to what Rafuse would have preferred.
“Believe me there would have been a huge, big opening celebration. But the main thing is, she’s going to be open,” she commented.
It just isn’t the museum staff, the historical society or even the museum board that have been anticipating the re-opening, according to Rafuse.
“The house has been a museum since 1957 so prior to it closing we had people bringing their grandchildren and remembering their own visits as a child,” she said. “People have watched the progress over the past six years and we’ve been asked so many questions throughout that time from people in the community and from people that live away.”
Perkins House is operated by the staff at Queens County Museum that also operates the Museum of Justice and the Fort Point Lighthouse. The latter three were opened for the season June 30 and are open Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Perkins House Museum will operate under the same hours.
Admission is free at all 28 Nova Scotia’s provincial museum sites for July and August.
Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin