What exactly is an open-air museum?
Open air is “the unconfined atmosphere…outside buildings…” In the loosest sense, an open-air museum is any institution that includes one or more buildings in its collections, including farm museums, historic house museums, and archaeological open-air museums. Mostly, ‘open-air museum is applied to a museum that specializes in the collection and re-erection of multiple old buildings at large outdoor sites, usually in settings of recreated landscapes of the past, and often include living history. They may, therefore, be described as building museums. European open-air museums tended to be sited originally in regions where wooden architecture prevailed, as wooden structures may be translocated without substantial loss of authenticity.
Common to all open-air museums, including the earliest ones of the 19th century, is the teaching of the history of everyday living by people from all segments of society.
Kings Landing was created in the late 1960s when the Mactaquac Dam threatened to flood many historic buildings in the Saint John River Valley. Over 70 restored and reconstructed buildings and other structures from the 19th century and early 20th century are now part of Kings Landing’s collection and on-display just 20 minutes West of Fredericton. Kings Landing primarily focuses on living history but also curates educational exhibits to display to the public at Kings Landing and around the province. Many of these exhibits are created in partnership with cultural and heritage institutions such as the New Brunswick Black History Society and UNB’s Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre. For a complete list of exhibits, click here.
Here are some of the building presently being interpreted through living history:
Hagerman ancestors came to Nova Scotia (now known as New Brunswick) in 1783. They eventually settled in Bear Island and five generations have farmed the land. Widow Margaret Hagerman and her sons Alfred and George are running the well-established farm. Alfred’s wife Annie is helping with the day to day farm life and looking after their two sons.
For 6 generations the Joslin family resided in Colonial America before arriving in Nova Scotia (now known as New Brunswick) in the 1780’s. The family eventually settled in Kingsclear on the farm where William Cook Joslin grew up. William and his wife Hannah took over the family farm and raised their family. Two of their adult sons and a daughter are helping run the farm.
The Jones family was a prominent Colonial American family for generations before arriving in Sissiboo, Nova Scotia. Thomas Jones made the move to his father’s land grant in Prince William, New Brunswick in 1813. Following in his ancestors’ footsteps, he served in several parish offices, eventually becoming Justice of the Peace and Magistrate for Prince William. Thomas built a new stone house for his wife Jane and infant son. His mother Sarah is also living with the young family.
The Jewett family settled in Jewett’s Mills and set up a gristmill, sawmill and carding mill. Thomas Fraser, Charles Gunter and William S. Clare are hired hands to work in the Jewett sawmill. The Jewett sawmill produces boards for the local market and deals to be shipped to Saint John on wood boats, often forwarded on to England or south to New York or Boston.
The Jewett family settled in Jewett’s Mills and set up a gristmill, sawmill and carding mill. Thomas Crouse and Alexander Kelly are hired hands to work in the Jewett gristmill. The Jewett gristmill keep a portion of the product they grind for their customers, commonly referred to as custom milling.
New York was home to the Lint family for generations before arriving in Nova Scotia (now known as New Brunswick) in 1783 and settled on a land grant in Queensbury. Lawrence Lint grew up on the family farm and later built a home for his wife Catherine on the property. Lawrence’s brother Jacob married Catherine’s sister and settled nearby.
The Hoyt family had lived in New England for over 150 years when Daniel Hoyt came to Nova Scotia (now known as New Brunswick) in 1783. His grandson, Moses, settled in Prince William with his wife, Sarah McDonald from Maine. Moses’ blacksmith work was described in the census as “all sorts of country work.” Their middle child, Edmund, also became a blacksmith.
The Long family arrived in Nova Scotia (now known as New Brunswick) and made their way to their land grant in Kingsclear by 1784. Abraham Long grew up on this land and worked along beside his father both on the farm and in the lumbering business. Abraham and his wife Catherine built a home on the property and are raising their family.
St. Mark’s Anglican Church
St. Marks Anglican Church was part of Bishop Medley’s mid-19th century policy to build more Church of England churches in New Brunswick.
Frederick Perley’s family originally settled in Maugerville, Nova Scotia (now known as New Brunswick) in the 1760s and later purchased land in Queensbury. Frederick and his second wife Jane live on the Queensbury land and are operating a prosperous farm in the mid-Victorian Era.
The Grant family moved to New York in 1774 and in 1783 moved to Annapolis, Nova Scotia. Eventually, the family moved to Southampton, New Brunswick where Henry Colwell Grant opened his store. Henry’s store became the centre of the community and people made purchases with cash, credit or trade. It is a family run business with his wife Barbara and their children actively working with him.
Daniel Morehouse moved his new wife Jane to Nova Scotia (now known as New Brunswick) in 1783. They eventually settled in Queensbury to raise their family. Daniel is busy with his duties as Justice of the Peace and Magistrate for Queensbury and leaves the running of the sawmill, gristmill and farm to his adult sons.
The Ingraham family lived in Colonial America for generations before making the move to Nova Scotia (now known as New Brunswick) in 1783. Ira Ingraham, his wife Olive and family, including Ira’s older sister Hannah, moved to the family land in Queensbury and by the 1840s had a prosperous farm, often requiring several hired hands.
Mary Valentine’s family moved to Nova Scotia (now known as New Brunswick) in 1783. She visited relatives in New York and by 1820 she had married Matthias and returned to New Brunswick. They rented this house from Peter Fisher in downtown Fredericton. Matthias is a carpenter and is working on making repairs to Government House.
John Heustis came to Nova Scotia (now known as New Brunswick) as a young boy with his family. John and his second wife Suzannah live on the Heustis family land in a newer story and a half house. John is elderly and mostly retired from his many ventures including farming, tanning and running a towboat halfway house.
David Gorman is visiting from Fredericton to do work for the Village. He is renting space in the Heustis family barn and have brought the necessary tools with them from Fredericton to complete the task. Being retired, John Heustis has time to visit the barn and help out from time to time.
New Brunswick Parish schools are small, lack resources and teachers teach mostly by oral instruction in 1840. Teachers can be strict, resulting in punishment being common, often writing lines or standing in the corner. Rewards are few.
Timothy and Mary left Ireland and arrived in New Brunswick in the 1820s with hopes of a better life. After the Hanwell Settlers built their road, the young couple eventually settled on a small land grant and built their cabin.
Riverside Presbyterian Church
In the early 1850s, the original Riverside Presbyterian Church congregation was formed in Prince William, New Brunswick. It was part of this congregation that built the current building in the early 20th century. Traditionally church buildings are used for community events such as spelling bees, town meetings and sewing circles.
Beacon Printing Office
Robert Armstrong is a second-generation Irishman running a print shop in St. Andrews New Brunswick. George Hammond and George McCaubrey are working with him to produce the many jobs on order.