Revamped Perkins House set to open June 7

·3 min read

The Perkins House Museum in Liverpool has undergone extensive renovations from top to bottom. With the majority of the work now completed, plans are being made to host an official re-opening on June 7.

David Freeman, president of the Queens County Historical Society, caretakers of the home for the province, said the “house has been completely restored to its original state but they still have some landscape work that they will do when it gets warmer.”

Built in 1766 and owned by community leader Simeon Perkins, The Perkins House has been closed since 2015 due to structural stability issues.

It’s one of 28 museums across the province that make up the Nova Scotia Museum group, a family of provincial museums.

Work on the restoration began in the summer of 2020.

A history of inoculation

Meanwhile, as the modern world grapples with the hows and whys of inoculation against the COVID-19 virus, Freeman shared a poignant excerpt from Simeon Perkins’s diary entry of February 12, 1801, a time of a severe smallpox outbreak in Liverpool.

“My family, say my wife, Lucy, Elize, Eunice, Mary, Simeon and Charlotte are inoculated by Mr. John Kirk, all in the left hand between the thumb and the forefinger, tho not in that loose skin, by making a small incision and laying an infected thread into about three-eighths in length. He then put a small square rag, double and over that a bandage to keep it in place.”

Ongoing historical projects

Elected in January, the Queens County Historical Society executive for 2021 includes Freeman as president, Lesley Scott as vice-president, Gail Hamlin as secretary and Linda Moulton as treasurer. The society is starting or continuing work in a number of projects in addition to The Perkins House.

- Lost at Sea project

Staff and volunteers have been working on a project named, Lost at Sea, for the past few years. Phase one of the project was to collect the names of residents of Queens County that have been lost at sea.

Freeman said they have gone back to the early 1700s to collect the names of fishermen, privateers, people lost on passenger liners and others.

“It’s been a real challenge finding the names of people,” he suggested. “We have been researching newspapers, going through files and having conversations with many people. It’s been a real undertaking.”

Next steps include getting a solid plan together to design a monument upon which to record the names, and a location for it. Funding will also have to be gathered as well.

Freeman hopes the project will be completed in the next “two or three years.”

- Fort Point Lighthouse

“This is tremendous. It just ties in with what we do,” said Freeman of the three-year tender recently awarded to the society and the Queens County Museum to manage the Fort Point Lighthouse. “It just fits in with what we do. We have the Queens County Museum, The Perkins House and the Museum of Justice, so this ties in with everything. We are looking forward to creating a really good experience for visitors.”

The Fort Point Lighthouse and Park, owned by the Region of Queens Municipality, has been operated during the past four years by Lane’s Privateer Inn. It provided a gift shop, activities, visitor information and promotion of the area.

The inn's agreement with the region came up for renewal this year and was awarded to the Queens County Museum and Historical Society who will operate it for the next three years over the tourist season. It will be open from June 1 to Thanksgiving weekend.

Museum remains closed

Meanwhile, the Queens County Museum remains closed. However the Thomas Raddall Research room and the gift shop are open, although appointments are encouraged. The Museum of Justice will be open for tours on June 1.

Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin