On August 4, 2011 I visited this Community Museum. It brought me back nearly a decade ago when I first started Flower’s Island Museum in Nameless Cove in July 2002. The old homestead similarly was filled with items of the 19th century and had stories adorning the walls highlighting baking bread, domestic life and past residents that were pillars of the community.
Dr. Henry Payne was a dedicated teacher for 45 years, Justice of the Peace and a field worker for the Co-operative Movement.
Since the 1950s the co-operative movement has continued to grow. Today, it consists of related organizations with significant influence in the agriculture, finance, insurance, fishing, retail and housing industries. Retail co-operatives play significant roles on the Prairies and in Atlantic Canada, according to Canadian Encyclopedia.
Rural Communities were built around the cooperation of its residents. It led to development. We may have to re-visit the co-operative model and consider it for craft retail, tourism marketing, fishery and agricultural sectors on the Great Northern Peninsula.
The Museum has a wealth of artifacts from the past. Entrance is just $3.00 and if under 12 there is no admission fee. The kitchen has the old stove, with flat irons ready to be heated for ironing clothes. In the pantry there was an old water pump in the basin and many old tins and cans, which were former homes for tea, spice, flour and other foodstuffs.
The rocking chair below is a rarity. It certainly is one of a kind and a symbol of the times. This appears to be an old hooping barrel converted into a rocking chair. You may also notice the hinges on the seat. It was also good for storage – maybe the wife’s knitting and wool would be neatly stowed away. Nevertheless, this piece illustrates the ingenuity of a rural Newfoundlander & Labradorian.
Rug Hooking has begun to see a revival on the Great Northern Peninsula. I have seen rug hooking kits for sale at many outlets, the Grenfell Interpretation Centre sells a variety of hooked rugs, the College of the North Atlantic had delivered a Mat Hooking course (which, I enrolled), many rugs were hooked in Englee and Main Brook. This is an excellent opportunity to place your images of Rural Life in an art form. Community-members could come together to form a rug hooking cooperative as was in the past with the Grenfell Foundation. People would send their stockings to the women of Labrador and the Great Northern Peninsula to hook Grenfell Rugs.
The Dr. Henry Payne Museum offers Rug Hooking classes on-site, taught by the multi-talented Glenda Bavis. If you are interested in learning this trade make contact at: 709 243-2466 or
The museum is a rare find with photos, period furniture, artifacts, geology and more. Additionally, a visit to their gift shop is a treasure hunt. They have a little bit of everything from candles, postcards, hand-knit sweaters, pottery, pewter bowls, Dark Tickle products, books, antler buttons, pet rocks, jewellery, music and more. (http://www.cowhead.ca/heritage/)
If you have the time, drop by this museum. They are open until 8:00 PM! The two staffers working we able to answer my questions, as I can be very inquisitive at times. I like playing the role of a tourist even on the Great Northern Peninsula, as it is nice to see the product and service offering others experience when they visit local sites. Great job!
Live Rural NL –
Christopher C. Mitchelmore
- Rural Communities are Stronger Together – Keep Government Accountable (liveruralnl.com)