The Age of Sail Museum and Archives has come a long way since it first opened in 1994. Located on a tidal river on the site of a post-colonial shipyard, it harkens to the early years of the region. The museum is governed by the Greville Bay Shipbuilding Museum Society, who work hard to fulfil the museum's mission: to inspire an understanding and appreciation of the lumbering and seafaring history of the region through interactive displays and discussion, while fostering connections and relationships with the community.
The Age of Sail Museum and Archives was conceived in 1990 by a zealous group of volunteers then known as the Greville Bay Development Group. The group aimed to erect a museum on a piece of land sold to them by Scott Paper, which at that time was being used as a picnic park. With a basic plan, work began on finding funding and a building. In 1992, the family of Elizabeth and Rod Macleod donated the Cochrane Hall, a former Methodist Church built in 1854, which was also used as a sail loft and community center over its lifetime. The hall was dismantled and moved to its new home, where it then sat for a year in a pile on the site. In December 1993, construction began with the pouring of a new basement, museum entrance, and a backend. Atlantex design worked with the group on the interior design, and with generous donations from the community, more than 700 artifacts were collected. The Age of Sail Museum opened in 1994.
Over the years, the Age of Sail Museum has grown significantly. In 1996, an original blacksmith shop was donated and moved onsite. In 1997, a cafe/gift shop was built, and in 1998, the 90-year-old Port Greville Lighthouse "came home" and took up residence at the Museum. In 2010, a boat house was purpose-built for the Museum, and in 2015, a new building was erected to house more displays, the archives, and a community room, all connected via walkways to the other buildings. Along the way, enclosures were added to cover the bandsaw and planer as well as a couple of storage and maintenance sheds. Finally in 2018, the Museum's memorial garden was completed, commemorating those lost at sea and the local men and women who served in the First and Second World Wars. Today with 6 display buildings, archives, gift shop, and cafe, the Age of Sail Museum and Archives has become a world-class museum with over 4000 artifacts, a genealogy database, plus a large selection of archival materials. It welcomes visitors from around the world during the 6-month season.
Without the dedication and generosity of many volunteers who have poured their hearts into this project over the years, the Age of Sail Museum could not have thrived and grown the way it has. The Museum has seen many of its original founders pass on, and their dedication is acknowledged throughout the facility. With wonderful staff and volunteers, the Age of Sail Museum and Archives continues on, thankful to all who support its endeavours.