Thoughts About Eldon’s Museum

Disclaimer: This article was written to share ideas and updates related to the Parrsboro Rocks Project. The content represents my personal views unless otherwise stated, and any errors or omissions are regrettably my own. – Dr. TJ Fedak.

The Rock Shop Project was announced on August 14th, in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia.The announcement was a time to begin celebrating the accomplishments of Eldon George. Eldon then cut the ribbon to open the 50th Anniversary of the Nova Scotia Gem and Mineral Show.

Eldon at Gem Show Opening

It was proud day for Eldon and for all those involved. Flanked by  community leaders and the RCMP in red serge, Eldon was surrounded by a large community of Maritime geology enthusiasts.

For nearly seventy years Eldon has shared his interest in natural history with those who visited his Parrsboro Rock and Mineral Shop and Museum. As we begin this project, it is interesting to briefly consider the importance of Eldon’s Museum.

Eldon told me a story about his formative years and how he came to work at the Nova Scotia Museum. Mr. J Linton Martin, the Director of the Museum, had heard of Eldon and his mineral collection. Mr. Linton asked Eldon if he ever thought about working at the Museum. Eldon replied, “I’ve wanted to do that ever since I was eight years old“.  Eldon was then hired to assist Peter von Bitter, who was at that time the Curator of Geology at the Nova Scotia Museum.

It was clear that Eldon had wanted to work at a museum from a very young age.  He then fulfilled this dream while working at the Nova Scotia Museum in 1965. He assisted with collections organization, participated in field trips and promoted education through school presentations. This early experience at the Nova Scotia Museum appears to have had an important impact.

Eldon’s Museum

Eldon in his Museum

Eldon established a museum of his own. Eldon’s Museum is in a dedicated room, and the contents are distinct and separate from the Rock and Mineral Shop business. Eldon’s Museum contains unique specimens for public viewing but also specimens and information of importance to researchers. Eldon’s Museum provided a link to the academic community that sought to preserve and study important specimens.

Eldon’s Museum is where he shares his excitement and his discoveries. On display are his most important fossil and mineral specimens. The Museum also contains posters and models that were used to help explain the significance of the specimens. The room is full of interesting things to look at.

It would be hard for a person to construct a Museum like Eldon’s today. It is difficult to imagine the patience and determination invested into the Parrsboro Rock and Mineral Shop and Museum. He has contributed a lifetime to his interest in natural history and mineralogy, and reached a large and international audience.

Beyond the extensive time investment, the legislation has also changed in Nova Scotia. A Heritage Research Permit is now required to to actively collect fossil specimens. Rather than private collecting, it is more common today to see amateur collectors assisting Museum Curators during public field programs. Anyone can apply for a permit, but working alongside Museum Curators is often a an interesting and rewarding experience.

The Museum that Eldon constructed does not have all the systems that are used today in public museums to manage specimens. There are some specimen numbers, but  the archival papers or environmental controls that help preserve artifacts into the future are not common. Eldon focused his Museum on public displays and education, with specimens used to promote interest in the rocks and minerals of the area.

Eldon has said “one person can achieve a lot when they put their mind to something“.

In his eighty-fifth year, Eldon now looks back at his accomplishments in promoting the geology and paleontology of the region. He has pursued his interests and inspired many others to do the same. Eldon has been a geological ambassador for the natural history to be found on the ancient shores of the Bay of Fundy. Eldon’s Museum helped him to bring attention to the important discoveries that were possible along the Parrsboro shore.

Share Your Memories

 What are your memories and experiences from Eldon’s Museum?
What do you think was the most important aspect about Eldon’s Museum?

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