The Albert County Historical Society is excited to showcase a new exhibit at the Albert County Museum. The Grindstone Island exhibit features heritage photos taken on Grindstone Island by Hugh Wright (lightkeeper from 1939 to 1950), as well as photos of Wainwright “Pappy” Weston and his family. Pappy was the last Grindstone lightkeeper; he served as lightkeeper from 1950 to 1970.
A special feature shares personal memories from two lightkeeper families. Mary Russell, daughter of James Russell (lightkeeper from 1899 to 1913), wrote a fascinating and detailed account of her childhood experiences when she and her eight siblings lived on Grindstone Island more than 120 years ago.
"Grindstone Island holds a prominent part in the proud history of Albert County and holds many untold stories of the People of the Tides,” affirms Dawne McLean, President of the Albert County Historical Society.
“This small island’s beacon light and foghorn, operated by the dedicated lightkeepers from 1859 until 1970, guided ships through the dangerous tidal waters,” stated McLean. “Just because the lighthouse has been abandoned, we must not abandon nor ignore the historical importance of Grindstone Island, and we must also remember the generations of lightkeepers who made life sacrifices and faced dangerous working conditions.”
Today, people hold a fascination for lighthouses. Are you interested in learning what life was like for the lightkeepers and their families who lived on Grindstone Island and called it home? If so, check out the new exhibit at the Albert County Museum in Hopewell Cape.
While touring the museum, visit the Captain Molly Kool exhibit, which opened in September 2020. This shares the amazing story of Molly Kool of Alma, the first female to become a certified “Master Mariner” or Sea Captain in North America. Molly made history again in May 2019 when a new Canadian icebreaker was christened the CCGS Captain Molly Kool, the first Canadian Coast Guard ship to be named after a woman. This year, two official photos of the icebreaker have been added to the exhibit. Captain Catherine Lacombe, who has served as the Commanding Officer of the CCGS Captain Molly Kool, personally donated a photo with a unique hand-crafted frame. The other photo of the icebreaker, including official documentation, was received from the Canadian Coast Guard, Atlantic Region, St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Also new this year are smaller exhibit panels that share the history of the mining of albertite and gypsum.
Enjoy the Albert County 175 exhibit located in the Court House, which features the stories of the Land, Sea and People dating back to 1845, when Albert became a separate county. In the Exhibition Building, you can find large model exhibits of Acadians in Albert County and the County of Heroes, which pays tribute to Albert County’s WWI legacy and the soldiers of the 26th Battalion.
Throughout 2021, several special events are planned, including the crowd favourite, the Canada Day Celebration. RB Bennett Day will be celebrated on July 3rd in recognition of the contributions made by Albert County native, Rt. Hon. R.B. Bennett, Canada’s 11th Prime Minister, born July 3rd, 1870 in Hopewell. Another activity for 2021 is creating a barn quilt to honour our rich agricultural history.
The Albert County Museum and RB Bennett Centre is operated under provincial health and safety guidelines and is open daily 9:30am-5:30pm from May 22 until the end of September and on Saturdays during October. It is located on Route 114 between Moncton and Fundy National Park, only 2 minutes north of Hopewell Rocks.
Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors, $25 for families, and free for children under 5. Memberships and group rates are available. Visit and “Discover the People of the Tides!” Albert County Historical Society, Museum & RB Bennett Centre, 3940 Route 114, Hopewell Cape, NB E4H 3J8, (506) 734-2003, firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more at www.albertcountymuseum.com.