Hopes are high as the Harbour Authority in Long Cove is trying to set up a museum to share the area’s history.
With a changing economy and demographics, the Harbour Authority of Long Cove is hoping that the opening of a community museum will bring more tourism to its town.
Deep in the heart of Norman’s Cove-Long Cove, nestled on the southside of Long Cove Harbour, sit two small red buildings at the beginning of a popular hiking trail.
These buildings will become the new museum and will also house a traditional Newfoundland kitchen and a fishing stage. Plans are also being made to add a coffee and consignment shop. The consignment shop will sell items made by locals.
Lydia Smith is the harbour master of the Long Cove Harbour Authority, a small group of volunteers who are organizing and creating this new venture.
“I think it will sell itself honestly,” Smith said. “I think we’ve only started this and people have heard about us already.”
The Harbour Authority is hoping the museum will do two key things – share the history of the town and attract tourists to the area. Smith wants people to get out of their cars and explore.
So far, the volunteers have collected artifacts, photos and reading materials from locals to fill the buildings. They’ve also purchased old furniture to decorate the space.
“I feel like we have bragging rights,” said Smith. “It’s beautiful. Our walking trails are beautiful. There’s so much. I think the sky is the limit with what you can do with tourism here.”
The museum is set to open in June.
“We’re in the process of putting it together,” Smith said. “It’s still nice and you can go now and visit, but we are hoping to be able to open it in spring.”
Attempting something different
Norman’s Cove-Long Cove, about 100 kilometres east of St. John’s, has benefitted from being geographically situated near large industries that provided employment and economic spin-offs to the area.
With some of these operations such as the Come-By-Chance oil refinery and the Bull Arm offshore oil platform worksite either closing or finishing production, locals are looking at new ways to promote their town.
Henry Brenton is the mayor of Norman’s Cove-Long Cove, a Trinity Bay community of 660 people. The town finds itself in a similar situation as other rural communities with aging populations – less employment and the need to attract people to the area.
“If we can keep the development going and other work in this area, we could keep our people here,” Brenton said. “When people are working and people are making money, they will spend it in their community.”
Brenton is hoping tourism is something that will help the town and is looking forward to the museum opening and what it could bring.
“We are doing everything we can to help out the Harbour Authority with permits, with whatever they need to do,” said Brenton.
The town is also looking to improve its walking trails and infrastructure to promote the town to visitors.
“We’re hoping that people will see the beauty of this place and come visit and spend some money here, to help keep the economy going,” said Brenton. “There’s a possibility it might lead to more development in the near future, which is good.”
Locals are also showing great interest in showcasing what the town has to offer.
Elizabeth LeDrew lives in the town. She believes the museum project is just the tip of the iceberg of what Norman’s Cove-Long Cove can offer tourists.
“I love everything about it,” said LeDrew. “I think there’s some beauty in this town that people don’t see because there’s no real reason, unless you’re from this area, to come off the highway. They just drive on by . . . There’s not much here to draw people. I think it would be great,” said LeDrew.
Shirley Kinden is another local of Norman’s Cove-Long Cove.
Originally from Fogo Island, she and her husband moved to the town in 1967. She feels that opening the museum is a good step for the area.
“That seems like that’s the thing today: People are trying to get into tourism, and the more things they can put into a community, of course, would be an attraction,” said Kinden.
She says the museum project could be the start of something new for the community.
“Start small and hopefully it’s going to work into something bigger,” said Kinden.