Telling tales on the high seas

Arts & Entertainment Community Featured

Even when they’re on their way to Pictou County on the Northumberland ferry from Wood Islands, P.E.I., visitors are getting a taste of Nova Scotia and what they can look forward to in Pictou County when they dock.

Each Monday until the end of the summer, the Museum of Industry will have an interpreter on board the ferry to talk about Pictou County’s coal mining heritage. The interpreter not only gives the history about coal mining, but tells it like a story to bring a more human aspect to the past.

“It’s to add to the passengers’ experience on the ship,” said Denise Taylor, marketing services with the museum. The story also follows along with the Coal and Grit exhibit the museum has on permanent display.

“We’re telling some of those stories in a way for us to illustrate what we have here,” said Andrew Phillips, the museum’s curator of education and public programs. The museum chose to showcase the coal mining history because of the emotional aspect, the struggle, tragedy and connection that fascinate many of their visitors.

“The ancestors of the coal mining families are very proud of their heritage,” added Taylor.

The mining industry is also one that has international appeal for many different substances other than coal and is familiar to visitors seemingly no matter where they may have travelled from.

Taylor joined the interpreter, Mitch Coupland, on his inaugural crossing last week and was thrilled with the interest and feedback that the story of Pictou County coal miners had on the guests.

“People were very engaged and there were children that were dragging their parents over,” smiled Taylor.


Mitch Coupland prepares to speak on Pictou County’s coal mining heritage while on board a Northumberland ferry making the crossing to Prince Edward Island from Caribou. Each Monday until the end of the summer, the Museum of Industry has an interpreter on board the ferry to engage visitors with the history of Pictou County. (Submitted photo)