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Colchester Historical Museum

29 Young Street, Truro, Nova Scotia, B2N, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2004/05/17

Colchester Historical Museum, northwest perspective, 2004; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2004
View of original main entrance
Colchester Historical Museum, wall detail, 2004; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2004
Wall decorative detail
Colchester Historical Museum, iron pilaster bases, 2004; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2004
Iron pilaster bases

Other Name(s)

29 Young Street
Colchester Historical Museum
Industrial Arts Building

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1900/01/01 to 1901/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/01/19

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Colchester Historical Museum is a two-storey building located at 29 Young Street in Truro, NS, within the town’s Civic Block. Constructed in 1900-1901, it is an institutional building of brick and iron on a freestone foundation, and features two ranks of double windows, prominent dormers and a central cupola. The heritage designation includes both the building and the surrounding area.

Heritage Value

Historical Value

The Colchester Historical Museum building is a highly-valued part of Truro’s educational history. It was constructed in 1900-1901as the Science Building for the Provincial Normal School, where public school teacher training took place, and replaced the science facilities in nearby Bible Hill that were destroyed by fire in 1898.

The basement of the Science Building was designed to hold the Macdonald Manual Training School, which was funded by Sir William Macdonald, a Prince Edward Island merchant, and a zealous proponent of manual training in Canada's public schools. The main floor of the building featured a large laboratory for physical and biological studies. The second floor was a chemistry laboratory and featured a slate floor embedded in concrete. The third floor was designed as a science museum.

After the Provincial Normal College moved in 1961, the Science Building was used by the local school system for industrial arts classes for several more years. Since 1976, the building has been the home of the Colchester Historical Society’s Museum and Archives

Architectural Value

The Colchester Historical Museum is an architecturally unique Truro landmark, symbolic of the leading role that the Provincial Normal College played in the educational system of the province during the 20th century. Conceived by architects Edward Elliott and Charles H. Hopson of Halifax, and constructed by J.M. Reid and Son of Windsor, NS, the building symbolizes the many changes that the public school curriculum was undergoing at the time. Opinion was shifting about the fundamental purpose of the educational system and how it should support industry, economic growth and social development. These influences led to an increasing emphasis on science and practical skills, embodied in this building.

Source: Planning Department, Town of Truro, file 10MNS0047

Character-Defining Elements

Key external elements that define the building’s heritage character include:

- all original or historic building elements, including: basic form and massing, exclusive of the addition on the south façade; pilasters reaching from the raised foundation to a steel belt course; wide eaves and moulded cornices; central cupola chimney; roof dormers with alternating gable and arched roofs; decorative panels suspended between the pilasters; stone stairway at the north entrance;
- all original or historic window and door elements, including: ranks of paired double-hung sashed windows with transoms; panelled double entrance doors with windows; heavy window surrounds.
- all original or historic building materials, including: brick cladding with thinset mortar; freestone interleaved with brick masonry in the foundation; cast iron window sills and lintels, pilaster bases and caps; galvanized iron eaves, cornices, belt course and cupola; granite entry stairway; cast iron dormers and window surrounds.

Key internal elements that define the building’s heritage character include:

- all original internal elements reflecting the use of the building as a teacher education facility;
- slate floor embedded in concrete on the second storey, reflecting its original use as a chemistry laboratory;
- basement areas reflecting the original use of that area as the Macdonald Manual Training School.

Key elements that define the site’s heritage character include:

- all elements that connect the building visually with the Provincial Normal College building;
- unblocked pedestrian access to the Provincial Normal College building.



Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NS)

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Municipally Registered Property

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1901/01/01 to 1961/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Building Social and Community Life
Education and Social Well-Being

Function - Category and Type




Special or Training School

Architect / Designer

Charles H. Hopson



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Planning Department, Town of Truro, PO Box 427, Truro, NS B2N 5C5; file 10MNS0047

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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