Events and Special Projects

Book launch

The Guysborough Historical Society was pleased to host the book launch of the Society’s latest publication Turning The Pages of History – Down Guysboro Way at Old Courthouse Museum on Sunday, October 1.

This book is a republication of many of John A. Morrison’s writings originally published in the Canso Breeze and the Guysboro County Advocate. Chris Cook, president of the Guysborough Historical Society, provided leadership in the compilation of the material for this book. Chris spoke about the life and times of John A. Morrison to those gathered for the launch who showed great interest in the book. Copies of this book can be purchased from the Society’s website.

cover of book titled "Turning the Pges of History: Down Guysboro Way


National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

September 30, 2023

Members of the Guysborough community gathered on September 30 at the Old Courthouse Museum to take part in the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The Mi’kmaq and Every Child Matters flags were raised outside the Museum. Nancy O’Regan welcomed everyone and led the ceremonies marking this solemn day. The event began with a smudging ceremony, the significance of which was explained to all those gathered.

The recognition of the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation was focused this year on specific calls to action that were identified by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. These 94 calls to action were created to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation.

Specific calls to action were addressed by community members. Michelle Newell addressed Church organizations, Tonya Pelley addressed Youth, Jennifer Delorey spoke to Language and Culture, Chris Cook spoke about Museums and Archives, Barb Bell addressed Health, and Marcia Connolly spoke about Justice. Paul Long spoke representing the Municipality of the District of Guysborough and Charla Cosgrove gave remarks on behalf of MLA Greg Morrow updating the Government’s progress in addressing the calls to action. Local groups and agencies had resources related to reconciliation available to the public as well.






A moment of silence was held in memory of the victims and survivors of residential schools in Canada. ANS Elder Mary Desmond gave the closing prayer. The day’s events came to a close with community members tying orange ribbons representing the significance of this day for to the tree outside the Old Courthouse Museum.









 Afternoon Tea at the Museum

August 18, 2023

People having tea at the MuseumPeople having tea at the Museum

The Guysborough Historical Society hosted an Afternoon Tea event at the Old Court House Museum on August 18, 2023! The event was very successful and received many positive comments from the public. There was a wonderful turn out of local people, and even some visitors passing by stopped in for a cup of tea! We appreciate all the community support this event, without which this would not have been possible.

Posted September 2023

Week 2023

The African Nova Scotian Flag is flying proud at the Old Court House Museum!

The Guysborough Historical Society once again partnered with the Emancipation Planning Committee to help prepare for the 3rd annual week of celebrations.

Tuesday marked the 3rd annual August 1st Emancipation Day celebration in Guysborough County. The Proclamation event at the waterfront was a huge success once again.

Everyone is encouraged to attend the many events planned for Emancipation Week 2023.

Posted August 2, 2023

Guysborough Historical Society 50th Anniversary

On Sunday July 29, Guysborough residents gathered in the sunshine outside the old Courthouse Museum to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the incorporation of the Guysborough Historical Society. The celebration included cake, music, and a barbecue.

Society president Chris Cook opened the event giving a brief overview of the Society’s history. Charla Sullivan gave greetings on behalf of MLA Greg Morrow, municipal councillor Paul Long spoke about the contribution of the society to the community, and Pastor Carla Jordan provided an opening blessing and prayer.


Following the formal opening, President Chris, curator Mary Armstrong, Pastor Clara, Charla, Paul, and Neil, cut the 50th Anniversary cake.

In the capable hands of Garth Wilson who monitored the sound, music was provided by Neil DeCoff, Danny & Mary Theresa Rogers, and president Chris who also contributed a tune or two near the end on the accordion. Don Armstrong was the master of the BBQ. The hamburgers, and hotdogs were a big hit.



Curator Mary put many hours into both the planning and supervision of this event along with summer students Taya Lucas-Desmond (who has been with the museum for three summers), Clara Maltby, and Mayan Evenhart whose help with the celebration was invaluable.

Thank you to all who helped with the day and especially to all those who attended and helped us celebrate our 50th!

Posted August 2, 2023

Premier Visit to Celebrate Society’s 50th Anniversary

On Friday, June 16 the Premier of Nova Scotia Tim Houston and MLA Greg Morrow visited the Old Court House Museum. They met with the Old Courthouse Museum curator Mary Armstrong to extend congratulations to the Historical Society for 50 years of service to the Guysborough Community.

Guysborough County Christmas Market

Posted  December 2022

Two people sitting behind a round table displaying books and T-shirtsThe Guysborough Historical society setup shop at the Guysborough County Christmas Market held at the Chedabucto Lifestyle Complex on Saturday December 3. Many Christmas shoppers visited our table to have a look at our selection of books and Temperance Society T-shirts.

Chris Cook, Chris West, and Mary & Don  Armstrong were there to chat with those who dropped by and to help select a great historical holiday gift. Thanks to all who supported the Historical Society by making a purchase either as a gift or to add to their own collections.

Happy Holidays to all



Monica Graham Presentation – Fire Spook: The Mysterious Nova Scotia Haunting

Posted November 2022

Approximately 25 people were in attendance on the sunny Sunday afternoon of November 20, to hear author Monica Graham give a talk about the story of the Mysterious Haunting  in Caledonia Mills and the how this impacted the life of Alex and Janet MacDonald as well as their adopted daughter Mary Ellen. Monica began her talk discussing the many sources she researched to be able to piece together the story of what happened in the MacDonald house which became known as the “spook house” on January 11, 1922.

Ms. Graham discussed the history of the family and strange occurrences that occurred in the years leading up to the night of the fires. Her presentation went on to discuss the fires, the impact on the family, and what she had learned about what happened to Mary Ellen in the years following the incidents. She also mentioned stories about other people’s experiences on visiting the area where the farm once stood.

Near the end of the presentation Monica mentioned some other possible explanations for the fires and shared her thoughts on what she thinks may have happened. In her words one of the greatest tragedies was the impact this all had on this family.

The presentation wrapped up with questions from the audience and the sharing of personal experiences with visitations to the site of the old farmhouse. The presentation was well received by those in attendance, many of whom expressed their happiness that they were returning home while there was still daylight present for their trip.

Dr. Marble Presentation – History of Nova Scotia Medicine  

Posted November 2022

On October 19, the Guysborough Historical Society hosted a talk at the Old Courthouse Museum by Dr. Allan Marble, noted researcher and author of several books on the history of medicine.  Dr. Marble’s talk was particularly focused on the life of Dr. George E. Buckley of Guysborough who practiced medicine from 1867-1936 and whose story is documented in Dr. Marble’s latest book “The History of Medicine in Nova Scotia from Confederation to Medicare: the Transition from Allopathic to Scientific Medicine.

Dr. Marble spoke to a group of interested and appreciative citizens. He began his talk with an overview of the state of medical knowledge and equipment that would have been part of Dr. Buckley’s practice when he started in 1867. Dr. Marble who called Dr. Buckley a hero for Guysborough County, went on to discuss how Dr. Buckley’s practice changed as he kept up with the advances which took place due to the epic discoveries of Louis Pasteur and Joseph Lister in the 1860s, the discovery of bacteria and viruses, the use of antiseptics, the invention of the stethoscope and the medical thermometer, as well as other advances in medical equipment and knowledge.

Dr. Marble spoke of the detailed records kept in Dr. Buckley’s daybooks and ledgers created over the entirety of his career and how they are a valuable resource that provides a window into the practice of medicine in a rural area in the late 1800s to the mid 1900s. These daybooks and ledgers are available thanks to their acquisition by the Nova Scotia Archives from an antiquarian book dealer in Toronto and are now digitized and available from the Nova Scotia Archives website.

Chris Cook presenting gift to Dr. Allan MarbleDr. Marble is pictured with Chris Cook, President of the Guysborough Historical Society being presented with a gift of a Temperance T-Shirt. After the talk Dr. Marble answered questions from the audience and all in attendance were invited to share in tasty refreshments prepared by Elaine Durling, a Board member of the Guysborough Historical Society.




Canada’s Residential Schools Tragic Legacy

Posted June 2021

In early June, the Old Courthouse Museum created a window memorial to the 215 children whose unmarked graves were found by the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation in late May on the grounds of the former Kamloops residential school. Below are some pictures of this display. The recent discovery of unmarked graves, many of which are believed to be those of indigenous children who attended the former Marieval Indian Residential School on Cowessess First Nation in southeast Saskatchewan and the likelihood that more unmarked graves will be found on the sites where other Residential Schools stood across this country, bring to light the tragic legacy of the role that Residential Schools played in the lives of indigenous peoples across the country. The Guysborough Historical Society acknowledges the legacy of trauma, pain, and suffering created by Residential Schools. We all have much work to do to bring about reconciliation with First Nations peoples of Nova Scotia and Canada.

Museum memorial

Museum memorial

Museum memorial

Lest we Forget

Posted November 2020

Like so many other public ceremonies this year, Remembrance Day traditions have had to evolve differently due to the COVID pandemic.  The Guysborough Historical Society marked this time of Remembrance by displaying poppies in the windows of the Old Courthouse Museum. A sign of remembrance for the men and women who have served, and continue to serve our country during times of war, conflict, peace and pandemic. The Society offers sincere thanks to the students of Chedabucto Education Centre for making these poppies and for providing them to the Museum.

Episode of Haunted filmed at  Museum

Posted November 2020

Group photo cast/crew/ghs


Friday November 6th and Saturday November 7th, the Old Courthouse Museum was the centre of attention hosting the crew of the Eastlink TV show Haunted. Haunted visits locations throughout Atlantic Canada to investigate “the darkest and scariest corners” and to try to make contact with “whatever might be waiting for them out there”.











Informed by research and background shared by Mary Armstrong, curator of the Museum, and Mark Haynes, acting President of the Guysborough Historical Society, the cast and crew spent two nights in the Old Courthouse Museum.  Who knows what contacts they made?  The episode is now being edited and prepared for release sometime in March or April of 2021. We will post the air date when it becomes available.

Winter Light Productions films episode for Maritime Museums

Posted October  2020

crew ready to filmPaul at table, cameraperson






The Guysborough Historical Society was pleased to welcome the crew from Winter Light Productions to the Old Courthouse Museum on Saturday, October 17th. Winter Light Productions is responsible for the documentary show Maritime Museums that airs on Eastlink TV.  Mary Armstrong, the curator of the museum, prepared for the safety of all those present according to COVID-19 protocols and welcomed everyone as they arrived.

Paul and Mark at table



The crew spent most of the day in and around the museum.  Paul Kimball, the host of the show, filmed an interview with Mark Haynes acting President of the Guysborough Historical Society. Later they were filmed as they walked through the museum exhibit area stopping frequently for Haynes to point out and describe the historical relevance of many of the artifacts. The episode is expected to air in February 2021. The exact date is not finalized at this time but will be posted on the website when it becomes available.

Wedding at the Museum

Posted October 2020

Wedding picture

On October  10, Thanksgiving Saturday, the Old Courthouse Museum was the scene of the wedding of Daniel Muise and Lindsay Thorne. Dan grew up just down the street from the Museum. COVID-19 procedures – masks, distancing, and lots of hand sanitizer – were in place.  Nancy O’Regan, local Justice of the Peace, officiated. There were about 35 people present – well within COVID guidelines.  As far as we know it was the first wedding ever held in the Court House since it was built in 1843.  We hope is not the last.






HERstory  – International Women’s Day 2020

Posted March 2020

On Sunday March 8, approximately 25 people gathered at the Royal Canadian Legion in Guysborough for an International Women’s Day event called HERstory.  The event, sponsored by the Guysborough Historical Society with support from the Antigonish Women’s Centre, started with an informal social and light lunch.  Later, those present gathered in a sharing circle where people were invited to share stories about the female role models, mentors and heroes in their lives.

Stories were told of mentors ranging from those who were successful authors, to a midwife, to women who passed on their cooking skills, to those who helped nurture a career.  Several young people also contributed stories about family members who were their mentors and heroes.

With the permission of those telling the stories, these narratives were recorded and will be transcribed and collected in a document that will be available at the Old Courthouse Museum.

The afternoon ended with the drawing of names for door prizes generously donated by businesses and community organizations.

Heritage Day 2019

Posted August 2019

Trail song

On Sunday, August 25th the Old Courthouse Museum hosted the Guysborough Historical Society’s annual Heritage Day.  The sun was shining as 24 people set out Sunday morning for a walk on the Guysborough Trail, all that remains of the old rail bed that was intended for the Guysborough Railroad.   The walk started with Lisa Hallett singing about the Guysborough Railway.  Charlie Hallett guided the participants along part of the trail and provided a historical narrative related to the proposed but ultimately ill-fated railway.


At noon a large crowd gathered for the annual Heritage Day barbecue.  Hot dogs, hamburgers, and sausage dogs were on the menu as people spent time in the afternoon sun enjoying the day. Following the barbecue events moved inside and we had the opportunity to watch some young Highland dancers exhibit their skills as they presented several different dances.  Each dance was introduced by a brief history and description by museum staff member Margaret Sams.

Our newest publication Interred Within: The Pioneers of Guysborough was launched.  This book documents the history of those in one of Nova Scotia’s oldest cemeteries. Researched by various authors over a period of four years, it tells the stories of 47 pioneers of Guysborough whose biographies will appeal to historians, genealogists and those who just want a good read.


The afternoon continued with musical entertainment by Netonia Nickerson, a summer student employee at the Old Court House Museum, who performed a number of songs to a very appreciative audience.

At 3 p.m. GHS Board Member Chris Cook led a guided tour of the old Methodist Cemetery on Queen Street, Guysborough. Cook has worked tirelessly for over two decades resurrecting gravestones and providing upkeep of the cemetery grounds. Approximately 12 people attended the tour and were rewarded with numerous stories about those whose final resting place is located on this site.


In the evening, the Drysdale lecture series, named after Jim Drysdale whose estate provided substantial support to the Historical Society, hosted a presentation by Antigonish author Bruce MacDonald which detailed the fascinating history of the many attempts to build the Guysborough Railroad.  It was an intriguing and informative presentation that raised several questions and a couple of stories from the audience.  Jamie Grant, President of the Historical Society, thanked both Bruce MacDonald for his presentation and Charlie Hallett for his leadership and story telling on the Trail walk earlier in the day.




Canada Day 2019

Posted July 2019

On July 1, 2019 approximately 40 community members gathered at the Old Court House Museum to celebrate Canada Day. Everyone joined in the singing of O Canada followed by the sharing of cake to celebrate. Councillor Miles MacDonald was joined by Aidan Brown for the cutting of the cake. A rainy Canada Day was perfect for this indoor celebration. Visitors had the opportunity to explore the museum, observe new exhibits and recently acquired artifacts.

Guided Harbour Tours 2019 – (weather permitting)

    • 1:00 – 2:30 – French Period
    • 3:00 – 4:30 – Loyalist Period


    • July 16
    • July 21
    • August 6
    • August 18

Open Doors for Churches –  August 2019

Open Doors for Churches, in partnership with the Heritage Trust of NS, will be held on August 24 and 25, 2019.  Invite the public to visit your church. Please email us ( for more information.

Heritage Day 2019

Our Annual Heritage Day events, including the Drysdale Lecture Series, is tentatively scheduled for August 25, 2019

Historical Society 2019 AGM

This year’s AGM is scheduled for Tuesday June 18, 2019 at the Old Courthouse Museum starting at 7:00 PM (6:30 PM -7:00 PM for membership purchase and renewal).  New members welcome.

Guysborough Time Capsule Project 2017

In commemoration of Canada 150 the Historical Society undertook the building of a time capsule.  Community members were encouraged to submit stories and artifacts.  On Heritage Day the time capsule was sealed in the presence of a large of group form the community.  The capsule is intended to be opened in 2167.

Guysborough Historic Walking Tour

The Guysborough Historic Walking Tour begins at the Old Court House Museum at 106 Church Street. The tour takes approximately an hour and ends at the Christ Church Anglican Church. From there you can walk down to the Shoreline Trail toward the site of historic Fort Point or stroll back downtown to enjoy our local establishments. You can print the Walking Tour PDF or purchase it for a small fee at the Museum.

Guysborough Student Heritage Projects

Come into the Museum this summer to see heritage projects created by several of Guysborough’s young people.

Guysborough Interpretive Panels

This series of panels describes significant aspects of Guysborough’s history including the historic Court House, shipbuilding, the Canso Mi’kmaq and the early French fortifications on the harbour. The panels are located at the Old Court House Museum and along Guysborough’s scenic Shoreline Trail. For more information come visit the Museum.

Heritage Plaque Project

The Guysborough Historical Society has mounted historical plaques commemorating the estimated age and the original owner of many buildings in Guysborough and surrounding areas.

Genealogical Research Centre

Visitors and Community members are encouraged to use our Genealogical Research Centre to conduct personal genealogical research.  The Centre is open during regular museum hours and provides easy and safe access to Museum records, books and archives. In the off-season, the Centre will be available for use on an appointment basis.