A note from the director
The impetus behind building this collection came from an urgent call to action. I saw large quantities of historic items from the St. John Valley being sold outside the region without any description or sense of relevance to our French heritage. Essentially, once the artifact is gone without those important details, it loses its connection to the region, and a valuable part of our history is lost, especially for research. So, I began collecting items from local antique dealers where a provenance could be attached, keeping in mind that our mission is to collect the best the Valley had to offer as well as the very ordinary things that most people owned. Soon, the collection grew of almost entirely handmade items that speak to the ingenuity of the local people as well as to the traditions of their origins in New France.
My interest in architecture led me to restore the church and collect entire buildings, as well as parts of buildings with a special emphasis on original paint and wood working skills that have long since become defunct. We’ve begun to specialize in handmade textiles, such as catalognes, wool blankets, and ephemera. Again, it shows all levels of the culture, from people who were wealthy to the poor. The collection is composed of carefully selected items that we’ve purchased with a very small percentage of donated items.