During the Great Expulsion, with families separted, their land and livestock confiscated and their buildings destroyed, a group of Acadian settlers escaped into the forest where they were forced to live off the land. Fear of deportation and possible death kept them away from the British settlement in Halifax and eventually with the help of the Mi'kmaq Indians, they found refuge in the small cove on Chezzetcook Harbour located 25 miles east of Halifax as the crow flies.
For the next two hundred years the Acadian people cleared the forest and cultivated the fields around Chezzetcook Harbour. They adopted the methods of hunting and fishing utilized by their friends the Mi'kmaq. They kept their Acadian language and culture intact because of their isolation.
Following WWII more people from the urban areas of Halifax and Dartmouth began to move into the community, first building summer cottages and later building permanent homes. At the same time more young people from the community were attracted to the urban centers. While the initial impact of this progress was to start to erode the identity of the community, it eventually became clear to those who had remained that the preservation of their unique culture and history was of paramount importance. Through the hard work of the decendants of the original settlers, and with the assistance of the Province of Nova Scotia, the history of the community is being preserved through the establishment of the Acadia House Museum.
The Acadia House Museum is located on a small parcel of land just off Highway 207 in West Chezzetcook/Grand Desert, at 79 Hill Road - look for the sign as you travel down Highway 207. Acadia House has been occupied since the 1850's, when it was owned by Joseph Bellefontaine and his wife Celeste. Since that time, the small, sound wooden structure has seen a number of owners, although very little renovation was done over the years.
The kitchen of the house has been restored to the late 1800's - early 1900's, while all remaining rooms on the lower level consist of interpretive panels and artifacts. In one of the larger rooms, a scale model display depicts the communities of West Chezzetcook and Grand Desert at the turn of the century.
Displays in the museum feature Acadian Documents, tools. garments, religious artifacts, genealogy records and industry. Items date from 1700s to early 1900s.
Open from July 1st to August 31st, Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information contact Shirley Lowe at the telephone number or e-mail address shown below.
Donations to this community project are greatly appreciated.
Acadia House Museum