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Historic house in Dieppe, N.B., offering free admission, modern take on the past

Offering a new take on an old story, Doiron House in Dieppe, N.B., offers a piece of history in every room.

“The architecture in it is still as is. The floor in the living room is still the floor in the living room in 1841 and we have the kitchen table that’s the original, so we have a lot of original pieces too and it’s very interesting to see and to feel,” said heritage and partnerships manager, Pauline Cormier.

“You feel like you’ve been living here when you come into this house.”

From uneven floors to uniquely-built walls, the historic home showcases a period of time and the family that lived there.

However, even with a history lesson at the forefront, it is not your average museum. It features modern technology to help connect new crowds to the past.

“We have the interactive iPads, so there’s a story to it,” said Cormier.

“This family, all the decedents to it, were really religious, so we have a story to it that a little girl is looking for her rosary to go do her dictation downstairs, her lesson, because downstairs was the first school in Dieppe.”

Visitors can follow along on the iPads, with different videos, information and hints in every room.

“There’s some actors in there,” said historical guide, Philippe Giard.

“Robert Maillet, for instance, he’s a well known Acadian weight lifter and he’s also made some movies in Hollywood as well, and he’s in the tablet... so it’s pretty cool to see him. It’s a story line with different characters from that time, so he plays the father of Joseph.”

The City of Dieppe acquired the house in 2016 and welcomed the public for the first time last year after renovations and restoration.

The City of Dieppe acquired Doiron House in 2016 and welcomed the public for the first time in 2022. (Alana Pickrell/CTV Atlantic)Cormier says having it open to everyone again is a tribute to the history and the original owner.

“Mr. Dorion was the (agriculturalist) for all the province, so he had a lot of people working here. He had a lot of gardens in the back and he was also the Justice of the Peace, so he really had the community in this house.”

Open seven days a week, visitors can explore the Doiron House completely free of charge until Sept. 1.

Cormier says the city also purchased a trail that runs behind the house that goes to the Rotary St-Anselme Park and singers will perform on Sunday afternoons throughout the summer to help draw in more people.

“History is a very important part of your culture […] and it’s sometimes perceived as boring or intellectual, but it can be fun as well,” said Giard.

“We definitely try to make it fun here.”

July and August 2022 saw more than 1,000 people come visit the historic site.

“I did a local project last year about that, localized some of the historic houses of the city, and there’s really more than people think and it’s great that now we have one to show,” said Giard.

On top of summer tours, people can also rent out meeting room space, the entire facility for weddings and there is an inclusive café downstairs.

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