Miramichi History Museum
By Anthony McLean
Nestled in Miramichi, at 182 Wellington Street, is the home of the Miramichi History Museum. I recently had the privilege of interviewing Shaun O’Reilly, President of the Miramichi Natural History Association, which operates the Miramichi History Museum. Mr. O’Reilly was generous enough to share his knowledge of the abundant displays showcased at the Museum.
AM: How long have you been serving as president of the Miramichi Natural History Association?
SO: I have been the president for 17 years.
AM: How long has the Miramichi History Museum been established?
SO: The Museum has been established since 1897. It was co-founded by Doctors, James M Baxter and Philip Cox. Throughout the years, the Museum has had several locations.
AM: What significance does the Museum have to the Miramichi area?
SO: It is the only institution preserving the artifacts and history of the Miramichi, for future generations to enjoy and for research purposes. The museum is a tremendous resource to writers and individuals looking to document the History of Miramichi.
AM: A few years ago the Museum moved to a more modern location. What was the transition like?
SO: In 2006, we began to look for a new location. The old location was deemed condemned and engineers were brought in. A new building was designed and the Museum received land from the City of Miramichi. It did not work out. The present location became available in 2012. The Museum approached the Chatham Masons and the Masons were tremendously generous in helping purchase the present building.
AM: Since your move to the new location, do you see more visitor interest?
SO: Yes, definitely.
AM: Out of the various artifacts and exhibits, is there one mo
re intriguing than the others with visitors?
SO: For children, it is the birds, tarantula, crocodile and famous eight legged cat in the Natural History section. For adults, it is the Cunard Display, the ferries, Tommy the Moose and the assorted Native Canadian Display.
The Museum operates from the middle of June to early September and is open Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 5:30 pm. Admission is $3 for anyone over the age of 12. The present location would not be possible without the assistance of the City of Miramichi, Miramichi Historical Society and the Chatham Masons. Recently the Museum received a substantial grant from the then Minister of Tourism, Heritage and Culture, Bill Fraser, who has also visited the site. This funding will be used to renovate the Museum’s basement. This project will be completed by August 2016 and will be used to display more artifacts and exhibits.
Many thanks to Shaun O’Reilly for sharing his time and knowledge. If you have not visited before, make time to explore one of Miramichi’s most significant historical sites! For further information, be sure to visit and like the Museum’s Facebook page at Friends of the Miramichi History Museum.
Anthony W.J. McLean is a Contributing Reporter for Giv’er Miramichi and in his spare time he enjoys digital photography, writing and travelling. He has lived in Miramichi and Saint John, but is proud to call Miramichi home.
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