November 2014 Newsletter

November 2014 (PDF)  YSHS Christmas Party Announcement; YSHS November Program; New Brunswick Great War Geocaching Project; The FRM Welcomes Emerald Rogers & ARTS3000 Interns!; A Pause to Appreciate Volunteers

Fredericton Region Museum and Crowne Plaza Launch History of Hotels Exhibit

Press Release

The Windsor Hotel in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.

The Windsor Hotel in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.

Fredericton, NB (September 26, 2014) – On Thursday October 2nd, at 4:30pm the Fredericton Region Museum, in partnership with the Crowne Plaza, is opening its “Fredericton Coffee Houses, Inns and Hotels” exhibition. The exhibit explores the history of several of Fredericton’s historic downtown hotels that played a role in the development of the Fredericton region.

Early travelers arrived in the city on horseback, by train or aboard a riverboat and would have been pleased to see an inn or coffee house during the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. They sought a warm bed, a bite to eat, a good cup of coffee or even a bit of whiskey. “Travelers brought items in and people came from all over the world,” notes Elizabeth Earl, the Chair of the York Sunbury Historical Society Exhibitions Committee, “…the hotels and inns of Fredericton have played a large part in the political, social and business life of Frederictonians. This elegant little exhibit’s panels reflect a few of the stories of the changing times improving standards and burgeoning choices that have come about since the 18th century.”

Recently, Queen Street was voted as Canada’s most walkable street thanks to various features, such as a park, historic sites and a good selection of restaurants. Perhaps these features developed from its historic roots in the hospitality industry. The exhibit features artefacts, photographs and interpretation panels describing the history of several hotels including the Barker House, Queen Hotel and the Crowne Plaza Fredericton Lord Beaverbrook. Most of these establishments are no longer standing but remain in the memory of many of Fredericton’s long time citizens. The Lord Beaverbrook still serves as one of Fredericton’s major hotels and the Crowne Plaza has collaborated with the museum on this project.

About the Fredericton Region Museum:
The York Sunbury Historical Society founded the Fredericton Region Museum in 1934. In 1959, the museum found permanent headquarters in the (571 Queen Street) in the heart of downtown Fredericton. The society and museum remain a non-profit enterprise with a small paid staff and numerous volunteers. Fall hours (September – November) are Tuesday – Saturday 1-4pm.


September 2014 Newsletter

Summer Wrap Up – WOW! Were we Ever Busy! [Sub-headings: First World Was Exhibit Launch; NB Liquor Store Fundraiser - A Success!; Media Coverage; Open House; Summer Camps; Artist in Residence Program; Hannah's Tea Place; Madrigal Artisans]; 2015 Membership; Martha J. Harvey Award of Distinction 2014 Candidate Nomination; YSHS Member Notice

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The History of Art at the Fredericton Region Museum

The Fredericton Region Museum will be offering a free activity for children ages 6 and up as part of Culture Days. Children will visit our 19th Century Drawing Room and learn about the style and history of the portraits. Children will then have an opportunity to draw their own portrait, or to draw a friend’s! We hope to see you all there! Done forget to bring your creativity.

Where: The Fredericton Region Museum
When: Saturday, September 27th from 10:00AM until 11:00AM
Cost: Free!

Click here to register:

cultue days event picture

Geocaching Event to Commemorate the Great War

A German machine-gun emplacement of reinforced concrete on the crest of Vimy Ridge, and the Canadians who seized it

Join us for an exciting event to commemorate New Brunswick in the Great War. The Gregg Centre and the Fredericton Region Museum have commissioned the Regt Major NBGWGP to establish a Geotour of the Greater Fredericton Area. During the event, the design for the commemorative Great War geocoin will be revealed. There will also be guest speakers, light refreshments, and tours of the new trench exhibit. There will also a scavenger hunt to find a copy of “The Bitter Harvest of War” (donated by Goose Lane), which will be hidden somewhere in the museum.

The event will take place tomorrow, August 27th at the Fredericton Region Museum. The event will start at 6:30PM and go until 8:00PM.

We hope to see you there!

bitter harvest of war

Artifact Spotlight: The British Small Box Respirator

The vivid scenery in Wilfred Owen’s Dulce et Decorum Est helps me to recall that many people of all nationalities went through terrifying experiences with chemical warfare during the First World War. Until I began working at the Fredericton Region Museum, the vivid imagery remained just a part of the poem. I could picture the most chilling lines of the poem, but it still remained just an image in my mind. Once I started working with some of the objects of the First World War, the imagery became much more vivid.

The objects that really evoked these feelings were the gas masks. We are quite fortunate here at the museum to have a First World War era British Small Box Respirator. Gas masks like this were an incredibly important part of a soldier’s kit. They were critical if a soldier wished to survive a gas attack and fight another day. Owen’s description of a man who failed to put his mask on in time helps to show how important the gas mask was.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!–An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.–
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
(Wilfred Owen, Dulce et Decorum Est)

While examining the Small Box Respirator it is easy to see what Wilfred Owen means by “an ecstasy of fumbling”. Within seconds of a gas alarm you had to remove your helmet, remove your respirator from the haversack around your neck, place it over your head, clamp the nose piece on to your nose and bite down on the breathing tube. All of this had to be done without breathing in any of the gases floating towards your lines.

Inside of the mask is a small breathing tube, as well as a clamp that pinches your nose shut. This ensured that even if the mask was not airtight that you could still breathe safely. This clamp was a common complaint with the mask, as it would get uncomfortable the longer the mask was worn. Also, heat would slowly build up inside the mask, making it even more uncomfortable to wear. During the short time I was handling the mask I was wearing a modern respirator that only covered my mouth and nose. Even though I had been wearing the respirator for less than half an hour it was already becoming uncomfortable for me to wear this modern respirator because of the heat building up inside of it.

Another problem that Owen alludes to in his poem is visibility. These early gas masks had glass lenses, which would fog up over time. Eventually there was the development of masks that vented air over the lenses to demist them as seen with the Tissot mask, as well as the use of anti-fog materials like in British Small Box Respirators and German gas masks.

Despite the discomforts and low visibility the Small Box Respirator was an effective piece of kit. The filters on these gas masks lasted twice as long as their contemporaries due to the simple addition of an exhaust valve to the mask’s stem. As a soldier exhaled, the valve would allow air to go through this valve rather than back through the filter. Another feature of this mask is that the canvas was rubberized. This meant that the mask would fit snugly over the face and create an airtight seal. This design saved many lives in the First World War, and the updated version of the Small Box Respirator would continue to see use in the Second World War. 



IMG_1864The entire kit of the Small Box Respirator. The hose that attaches the canister (upper right corner) to the mask is missing. The haversack is heavily stained. During combat, the canister would be stored in the right pocket of the haversack on top of a metal spring. As air came in the bottom of the canister, this spring prevented the canister from sticking to the bottom of the haversack and restricting air flow (YSHS/FRM 1969.964.1a-c).


IMG_1689Another view of the Small Box Respirator. You can see the air intake valve on the bottom of the canister. (YSHS/FRM 1969.964.1a-c)

IMG_1868Inside the mask. You can see the nose clamp as well as the breathing tube. The lenses on this mask have yellowed over the last 97 years. You can also see the rubber on the inside of the canvas that helped to seal the mask against the user’s face. The “3” on the inside of the nose clamp denotes that this is a medium size mask. (YSHS/FRM 1969.964.1a).

IMG_1863Remember to play it safe when dealing with artifacts! You never know what chemicals they may have come into contact with. Nitrile gloves and a respirator are a must when dealing with objects that may have been contaminated with chemical agents. (Photo credit: Clinton Gillespie)


Written by Tom MacDonald (Collections Assistant, Fredericton Region Museum 2014)

The Fredericton Region Museum will be having our annual Open House event this summer on Sunday, August 10th, from 10 am – 5pm! This event will feature the grand unveiling of the First World War Vimy Ridge trench exhibit. We are excited to unveil our new exhibit to the public as we have worked very hard and are extremely proud with the level of detail we’ve included. This immersive exhibit has been a huge undertaking and we are certain you’ll love it as much as we do. It does an amazing job at capturing the trench life experience that so many were forced to live through.

We are offering coupons for Hannah’s Tea Place, located on our second floor balcony. There, visitors can purchase historic refreshments and are invited to help make dog and cat toys for the Fredericton SPCA. The first 100 attendees at the Open House will receive coupons for Hannah’s Tea Place.

The new musical group Sona will be performing during the day on the balcony. They are a new group composed of young Fredericton students. Sona sings in English, French, and Gaelic. Make sure you don’t miss their performance!

A white gloves tour will allow visitors to get up close and personal with many of our artefacts located on the third floor. Door prizes, crafts for children and the sale of our popular root beer floats complete the day.

Remember that Open House means that we will not be charging admission. This means the whole family can come for free! So please come to the museum August 10th if you are looking for a fun filled day in down town Fredericton.