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The DesBrisay Museum has a number of fascinating galleries throughout the facility that are sure to inspire you, cultivate your historical imagination, and compel you to ask questions about our shared cultural histories and your own personal ancestral story.

First Nations Gallery

CRADLEPjila'si—Welcome to the First Nations Gallery! This gallery was researched and assembled by Nancy Whynot, a member of the Native Council of Nova Scotia, Zone 5.

The First Nations People of Nova Scotia are known as the Mi'kmaq. This gallery tells the story of the Mi'kmaq, and displays items of importance to their culture, including world class examples of porcupine quillwork.


Judge DesBrisay's Study

judge desbrisayBorn in Chester, Nova Scotia, Mather Byles DeBrisay (1828-1900) was a lawyer, judge, politician and historian.

Throughout his adult life, DesBrisay was a “collector of curiosities” and he acquired a vast collection of papers and artifacts, which his wife sold to the Town of Bridgewater after his death in 1900.

This gallery is what a typical study might look like in 1890, with Judge DesBrisay's desk and chair, family photos, books he collected, and other documents relevant to the era.

Judge DesBrisay loved the unusual, and as Bridgewater was a lumber town, with schooners going and coming from all over the world, sailors would bring him items from their travels.  Many of these are displayed in this gallery, including A 1892 carved Mother of Pearl Shell depicting the baptism of Christ, and a 7" wooden spoon carved by the hermits of Mount Athos, Greece c. 1900.


Geology GalleryMineral Map of NS

Geology is the study of rocks, minerals and how they are formed.

This exhibit displays a large collection of Rocks and Minerals that were once part of Judge DesBrisay’s personal collection before they were sold to the Town of Bridgewater following his death.

This exhibit also contains many Fossils from Lunenburg County, as well as a brief history on the Gold Mining Industry of Lunenburg County.


Early SettlersSettlers artifacts

From 1750-1752, settlers were enlisted from Germany, Switzerland and the principality of Montbeliard to settle in Nova Scotia. These immigrants came to be known as the Foreign Protestants who, shortly after their arrival in Halifax, settled in Lunenburg County.

This gallery displays many of the artifacts used by the early settlers, as well as a selection of pieces by Alice Egan Hagen (1872-1972), who lived the latter part of her life in Mahone Bay, and is considered to be a pioneer of studio pottery in Nova Scotia.


Military Exhibit

WEst Novies

The West Nova Scotia Regiment is one of the oldest Canadian Militia units, formed from both the 69th (Annapolis Regiment, 1717) and the 75th (Lunenburg Regiment, 1870) in 1936.

Both Regiments descend from the 40th Regiment of Foot (Prince of Wales Volunteers), which was raised on August 23, 1717 at Fort Anne, Annapolis Royal, NS. The West NS Regt also perpetuates the 112th and 219th Battalions of Infantry, Canadian Expeditionary Force, which were formed for service in World War I. This exhibit showcases artifacts from the war, as well as many photos of the troops.


Bridgewater CorridorU018 DBP28 King Street after fire c.1900

This 'corridor' is a walk through time...from 1765 when the British gave a grant of 22,000 acres of LaHave River Valley to Foreign Protestant, Col. Joseph Pernette, to the first bridge built across the river in 1825, the arrival of the railroad in 1888, and the great fire of 1899. 

Meet the people that played a role in the growth of Bridgewater, and learn the culture of a lumber town.