The New Brunswick Museum didn’t have to look far for a series of artifacts that may someday be added to its collection.
They were just outside the back door where the museum hopes to build an expansion.
Peggy Brace lives in Boston, but grew up in Saint John. She’s returned home with a carload of family heirlooms, including Foley and Dykeman pottery.
“I grew up with Dykeman children and I used to go there and visit them a lot,” she says. “Many of the wedding presents I got when I was married came from Dykemans.”
Like many residents of New England, Brace has deep roots in Saint John.
“My father was James McGregor Grant and three generations back is the mayor of Saint John, who was my great grandfather,” she says.
But accepting new material presents a problem. The collection’s centre is already overflowing.
The museum wants to expand into an adjacent parking lot and beyond.
“The building itself would be quite large, and would impact a lot of the surrounding area,” says New Brunswick Museum CEO Jane Fullerton. “Including what we thought was an archeological site behind the museum.
An archeological survey was conducted last summer on the site. Researchers found 170 artifacts in about a week.
Some artifacts were aboriginal and others from the 18th and 19th century.
All of the artifacts are now being analyzed in Fredericton.
At this point, it is unclear what impact the new findings will have on the expansion plans.
“We are continuing to work on plans for the addition on this side,” says Fullerton. “We are in schematic design now for it. But once we receive that report, we’ll know better what are the implications for it.”
In the meantime, keepsakes continue to arrive at the museum.
“My children, if they’re emptying the house, they’d throw it all in the dumpster,” says Brace. “So I’m trying to find a home for all my treasures.”
Treasures from far and near, looking for a new home.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Mike Cameron.