P.E.I. community museums have a lot to offer this summer
Learn about Gaelic, spend time with L.M. Montgomery and listen in on a ham radio marathon
Did you know that Prince Edward Island has 38 community museums from tip to tip?
The non-profit museums are keeping P.E.I.'s stories alive by maintaining historic buildings, interpreting vintage objects and celebrating cuisine and handcrafts of centuries past.
Prince County actually boasts the most of all three counties at 18, so starting there, here are a few of the museums' major events for the remainder of the summer.
Where L.M. Montgomery lived
You can spend Wednesday evenings with L.M. Montgomery each week at the Bideford Parsonage Museum in Bideford, near Tyne Valley, P.E.I.
Guest readers do dramatic readings of short stories written by the Anne of Green Gables author from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays through the end of August.
The charming country museum is a heritage home built in 1878 and purchased by the Methodist church in 1884 for its Parsonage. Montgomery boarded there in 1894-95 when she was teaching — her very first posting as a teacher.
Just like Montgomery did, eat ginger snaps — they were the subject of her first published short story. There is no admission — just a free will collection in support of the museum.
There's more information about the Wednesday night gatherings on the museum's Facebook page.
Emigration of the Islanders
The Sir Andrew Macphail Homestead is a national historic site in Orwell, P.E.I.
It's a restored farm home and grounds dedicated to the legacy of Islander Sir Andrew MacPhail, who was a famous and influential Islander in his time. He was a doctor who served as a medic in the First World War — as well as being a journalist and author of 10 books including The Master's Wife, his autobiography of growing up in a strict religious Scottish home on P.E.I.
A special event in August is a talk by speaker Iain MacPherson, who will discuss the Gaelic language and his translation of a Gaelic poem written by Scottish settler to P.E.I., Calum Buchanan. The talk will be an entertaining one, organizers say — you don't have to be an academic to enjoy it.
Admission is by donation. More information on the homestead's Facebook page.
The homestead also has guided tours daily and serves lunch in summer, with beverages and desserts available all day.
Strawberries and ham (radio)
The historic Point Prim Lighthouse is 173 years old this year — it is P.E.I.'s only round brick lighthouse. It's a working lighthouse powered by solar energy.
To celebrate International Lighthouse Weekend, the lighthouse is hosting a strawberry social August 18 with complimentary strawberries and ice cream from 2 to 4 p.m.
Local amateur radio enthusiast George Dewar and friends will be on air for 48 hours communicating with more than 200 lighthouses around the world. The public is invited to chat with Dewar about the ham operators with whom he's been communicating.
The lighthouse is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until the end of September, as well as some days in October. It has a gift shop which boasts crafts made by local artisans, many of whom are direct descendants of the Point Prim lighthouse keepers!
P.E.I.'s oldest museum
The Garden of the Gulf Museum in the charming town of Montague is celebrating 60 years as a community museum — P.E.I.'s oldest.
The stately brick building was originally Montague's post office from 1888 to 1954, and is perched on top of the hill.
There's an anniversary exhibit, and a day of a children's activities called Museum Madness from 2 to 4 p.m. August 22 — please pre-register. Cost is $5 per child.
The major event of the summer is the museum's annual fundraising tea August 10 from 2 to 4 p.m. at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church. Admission is $8 and the theme is the 60th anniversary — dress in 1958 style! Contact the museum Tuesday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at email@example.com or (902) 838-2467 for tickets.
Chocolate and more
Just down the road in Brudenell, P.E.I., visit the historic Roma at Three Rivers, which celebrates life in an early P.E.I. settlement in the 1700s.
The site is having a Heritage Chocolate Festival this weekend, July 27 and 28. It started Friday night with a festival dinner by chef Robert Pendergast.
Saturday is Family Day and fun, family-friendly activities planned include a kitchen party, pony rides and heritage hot chocolate. Check out Facebook for more info.
The historic site offers daily interactive experiences with interpreters who present life as it was three centuries ago. Admission is $5 and there's a heritage lunch and tea served every day.
Visit for free
The P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation is selling Discover P.E.I. Heritage passes that will get you access to three of its seven sites for a discount. Passes are $12 for an adult or $32 for a family of four.
Choose from the Green Park Shipbuilding Museum and Historic Yeo House, the Acadian Museum in Miscouche, Eptek Art and Culture Centre in Summerside, Beaconsfield Historic House in Charlottetown, Basin Head Fisheries Museum in Basin Head, and the Elmira Railway Museum way up east in Elmira.
You can also borrow one of the passes from the public library service using your library card and visit one of the provincial sites for free. More information on the foundation's Facebook page.