Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia's Perkins House set to reopen after 6 years of repairs

The restoration of Perkins House in Liverpool cost the province $2.3 million — about three times higher than the original estimate of $500,000 to $700,000.

Perkins House in Liverpool was built in 1766 and opened as a museum in 1957

Perkins House is finally ready to reopen next month after being closed to the public for six years. (Submitted by Linda Rafuse)

A museum on Nova Scotia's South Shore that has been closed for six years is reopening soon after major upgrades were made to the 255-year-old building.

The restoration of Perkins House in Liverpool cost the province $2.3 million — about three times higher than the original estimate of $500,000 to $700,000.

The house, built in 1766 for merchant Simeon Perkins, gives visitors a peek into what life was like in the area from the mid-1700s to 1812. 

Linda Rafuse, the director of Queens County Museum, which runs Perkins House, said people were anxious for the museum — the oldest house in the Nova Scotia museum system — to reopen.

"We were constantly asked, you know, 'When is Perkins [House] going to be fixed? You know, what's going on with Perkins? How much longer do you think it will be closed?'" said Rafuse.

While the original renovation plan was to install new support jacks to prevent the walls from collapsing, it became apparent that more work was needed on the house, which opened as a museum in 1957.

The provincial Department of Infrastructure and Housing said in a statement the work included upgraded wiring, a new roof, siding and an accessible ramp. A new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system was also installed to keep the house at a more stable temperature and level of humidity.

The statement said the project shows the province's dedication to preserving history.

The museum last operated in November 2014. When it was supposed to welcome visitors for the season in 2015, structural problems meant it couldn't open its doors.

In 2017, another estimate pegged the restoration at $1 million to $1.5 million.

The reopening date was originally slated for June 7 of this year, but it was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic's third wave.

"The house was all ready to go, but we had to bring the furniture back with the last shutdown," said Rafuse. "That put a damper on that."

She said people in the community consider the museum to be iconic. When plans were made for the building to be restored, Rafuse said she knew it would be worth the wait.

"That was music to our ears," she said.

Corrections

  • This is a corrected story. A previous version incorrectly stated that Perkins House is the oldest museum in Nova Scotia. In fact, it is the oldest house in the Nova Scotia museum system. A previous story also incorrectly stated Perkins House opened as a museum in 1954. In fact, it opened as a museum in 1957.
    Jun 26, 2021 2:32 PM AT

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alex Guye

Reporter/editor

Alexandrea Guye is journalist reporting from Kjipuktuk (Halifax). If you have feedback or a tip, email her at alexandrea.guye@cbc.ca

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