From the Board:

History of the Museum

The Dartmouth Heritage Museum started from humble beginnings; a group of like- minded citizens began presenting collections of artifacts in two local schools to promote awareness of heritage in our region. Interest in this project grew as the schools, other community groups and City Council saw merit in their efforts. Many of these original citizens formed the Dartmouth Museum Society. Members of the Dartmouth Museum Society, concerned with the demolition of many of the sites of historic significance in and around the then City of Dartmouth, lobbied the municipal and provincial governments to establish a community museum. The Museum itself was established in 1967 as a Canadian Centennial Project by the City of Dartmouth and was set up at 100 Wyse Road.

After the Halifax Regional Municipality amalgamation in 1996, the Dartmouth Heritage Museum became known briefly as the Regional Museum of Cultural History, and then returned to its original name in 1999. During 1999 – 2000, the Halifax Regional Municipality worked with the community to establish the Museum as a non-profit community operated facility.

In 2002, the Wyse Road location closed its doors due to unsafe working environments, the Museum headquarters moved to Evergreen House and the main collection was moved to storage. In November 2009, Halifax Regional Council voted 15 – 3 in favour of giving the Society first rights to 90 Alderney Drive as a location for its new permanent home. Due to considerable issues with that building, the offer never went forward. Years of acrimony and fractious relations ensued. Lobbying by many concerned citizens remained a thorn in the side of the Halifax Regional Council.

In 2014, Council hired a group of heritage professionals to work on the collections that had been in cramped unmonitored storage for too long! That project worked to sort, examine and stabilize, as much of the collection as was possible within their mandate. This first attempt set the tone for on-going work that brought the collections to the acceptable state it is in today, though there is still a great deal to be done!

Halifax and the Dartmouth Heritage Museum Society continue to collaborate to deliver quality interpretation and educational programming to the community. While Halifax owns the collection and both historic houses, the Society, as an independent non-profit association, develops, manages, promotes, operates and administers the properties and the collection. In 2019, a new 5 year (formerly 3 year), Management & Operations Agreement was signed between the partners. This agreement enables the Dartmouth Heritage Museum to continue to celebrate our local heritage as a Canadian Charitable Organization (#890030521RR0001). There are presently four staff members, the Manager-Curator, Terry Eyland; the Collection’s Manager, Shannon Baxter, the Events and Marketing Coordinator Aries Casteel, and our Museum Assistant, Keila Mak.

For those interested, or to learn more about the openings, please contact manager@dartmouthmuseum.ca