Following this educational presentation I went outside and set foot on two different vessels that are permanently moored in front of the Fisheries Museum. The Theresa E. Connor is a schooner that was built in Lunenburg in 1938 and fishing the banks for 26 years until technology changed from hook and line fishing to fishing with big trawler nets.
On the deck of the Theresa E. Schooner
The Cape Sable, built in 1962 in Leiden, Holland, is anchored right next to the Theresa O’Connor. It is a steel-hulled side trawler, the generation of boats that replaced the old-style schooners. The Cape Sable retired from service in 1982 and now teaches visitors about the lifestyle of fishermen.
Below-deck accommodation for the fishermen
I then went inside the museum which features a myriad of displays about the fishing industry on three different levels. The second floor holds a Fishermen’s Memorial room, paying tribute to all the fishermen who lost their lives at sea. Fishing is one of the most dangerous occupations and many fishermen have made the ultimate sacrifice.
A view of Lunenburg
The first floor features the Aquarium, the Gift Shop as well as a Fish Demonstration Room, the Hall of Inshore fisheries, a Marine Engine Display, an exhibit about Whaling and Whales as well as a Boatbuilding Shop. The Second Floor holds the Bank Fishery Age of Sail Exhibit as well as a Vessel Gallery and the afore-mentioned Fishermen’s Memorial Room.
Rum-running, a dangerous occupation
The Third Floor has an exhibit on Rum Runners, individuals who daringly smuggled alcoholic beverages during the prohibition years from 1920 to 1933. Other exhibits on businesses related to the fishing industry and life in fishing communities round out the informative displays. The Ice House Theatre has a capacity of 85 people and offers a variety of films related to the fishing industry.
Every day the Fisheries Museum presents an extensive program that includes a lobster presentation, fishermen’s stories on the Theresa E. Conner and the Bluenose Saga. Practical skills such as net mending, trawl rigging and rope work, rope splicing and knots are demonstrated. Presentations such as “A Whale of a Tale” and “The Scoop on Scallops” are also held on a daily basis.
This was an extremely interesting experience, but if I wanted to make my way back to Halifax in time, I would have to leave the museum and make my way back to the Lunenburg Inn where I would have a chance to sit down and chat with the owners prior to continuing my drive along the Lighthouse Trail towards Peggy’s Cove and Halifax..