Welcome to the exhibit: Carbonear Island: “Traces of The Past”
A short video sets up the context of this interactive exhibit as Dr. Peter Pope, MUN Archaeology, briefly outlines the use of Carbonear Island over time.
Complementing the audio-visual presentation is a display of artifacts found during a dig on the island in the summer of 2010. These artifacts are examples of both military and civilian uses of the island.
The main exhibit room components are divided into six thematic areas which allow you to trace the history of Carbonear Island.
Area 1- Exploration & Early Settlement (1600s): The ocean and its resources played a vital role in the lives of those explorers who came to our shores and, in Carbonear, the fishery and settlement were of equal importance. As far as we know, early settlers did not base themselves on Carbonear Island, rather, the role of the island did not play a large part in the lives of settlers until danger threatened.
Skirmishes between England and France spilled over from Europe to the new found lands and reached a crisis point in1696 when the French military attacked the English outpost of Newfoundland.
Of interest in this section is the picture of an astrolabe made in Portugal in 1628. Rare and valuable, it was found by diver Wayne Mushrow in 1981 on a shipwreck off the South Coast of Newfoundland.
Area 2- Armed conflict (1700s): Carbonear Island’s most historically significant “moments of glory” were the times it served as a place of refuge and defense for the people of the area. The island became an important stronghold against the French. The exhibit designers felt it important to visually suggest just how forbidding were the natural “walls” of the island.
The quotes sprinkled on this wall are drawn from the diary of Abbé Baudoin, a priest who accompanied Pierre LeMoyne d’Iberville on his military campaigns in 1696-1697.
The cannonball “interactive” was designed to help visitors imagine the destruction that those non-explosive cannonballs could cause.
Interpreted and depicted by David Webber, a military historian, the soldiers and uniforms are thought to be representative of a specific era and war.
Visitors are encouraged to use the interactive map to learn what the recent archaeological work on Carbonear Island has discovered about this period of conflict.
Area 3 – The Dangerous & Bountiful Coast (1800s -1900s): In this time of peace, Carbonear Island became a location for a key navigational lighthouse as well as a base for fishing activity in the surrounding waters. A panel depicts how fishery methods changed over time.
A “memory station” bridges this component and that of the lighthouse families. Here one can listen to, and add to, memories about life and events on Carbonear Island and area.
Area 4– Residing at the Lighthouse (1800s -1900s): This is a brief introduction to the families who lived at the lighthouse, of the work they did, and of their innovative means of communication and transportation.
Using family photos, journals, letters, and interviews, this section was compiled with assistance and input from people with ties to Carbonear Island.
Area 5 – Natural History (1800s- 1900s): Carbonear Island has also been a place for outings of various kinds- from picnicking to catching butterflies. This section briefly explores the geological underpinnings of the island and its flora and fauna. It has a place in the world’s natural history books in the writings and studies of Philip Henry Gosse,an entomologist and correspondent of Charles Darwin. Over the years, the island has inspired various writers, musicians, and artists.
Area 6 – Finale & Credits: Area 6 brings visitors to the present day. It honours the volunteers and professionals whose cooperation and generosity have enabled this exhibit and the archaeological exploration of Carbonear Island.
Visit the Carbonear Island Exhibit: "Traces of the Past". This is an interactive exhibit.
This Exhibit is available to the visitor from July until September from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily and also upon request at other times during the year.
Appropriate Ages: School aged and up
Accessibility Notes: This Museum is wheelchair accessible.