July 24, 2021

Perkins House in Nova Scotia to open after 6 years of renovations

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

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

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

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

“We kept getting asked, you know, ‘When is Perkins House going to be renovated? Do you know what’s going on with Perkins? How much longer do you think it will be closed? ‘” said Rafus.

Although the original repair plan was to install new support jacks to prevent the walls from collapsing, it has become apparent that more work needs to be done on the house, which opened as a museum in 1957.

A statement from the provincial Department of Infrastructure and Housing said the work included upgraded wiring, a new roof, siding and an accessible ramp. A new HVAC system was also installed to keep the house at a more consistent temperature and humidity level.

A statement said the project demonstrates the province’s commitment to historic preservation.

The museum last operated in November 2014. When it was due to receive visitors for the 2015 season, it was unable to open its doors due to structural problems.

Another estimate in 2017 put the cost of the restoration at between $1 million and $1.5 million.

The opening date was originally scheduled for June 7 this year, but was postponed due to the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The house was fully operational, but we had to return the furniture after the last blackout,” Rafuse said. “It suppressed it.”

She said people in the community view the museum as iconic. When plans were made to restore the building, Rafuse said she knew the wait was worth it.

“It was music to our ears,” she said.

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