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Online exhibit features historical Forteau

Forteau school children with their teacher
Forteau school children with their teacher - Photo courtesy of The Rooms Provincial Archives

FORTEAU, N.L. — The internet has changed many things, including access to historical artifacts previously only available in museums and galleries.

Recently, The Rooms, which touts itself as Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest public cultural space, released an online exhibit of photographs from Forteau, Labrador, taken between 1906 and 1955.

“Photography is one of the most important methods of documentation of people, events, and feelings, both historically and in the present day,” said Larry Dohey, director of programming and public engagement for The Rooms.

This photo is of Forteau sometime before 1949.
This photo is of Forteau sometime before 1949.

“I have always subscribed to the thinking of Arthur G. Doughty, Dominion Archivist, who said in 1924: ‘Of all national assets, archives are the most precious. They are the gift of one generation to another and the extent of our care of them marks the extent of our civilization’.”

The new virtual exhibit features 49 items, mostly black and white photographic prints that capture the rugged landscape and frontier lifestyle, particularly the activities of the International Grenfell Association (IGA).

See the exhibit here. 

The prints are from the IGA collection, which established the first Labrador nursing station, Dennison Cottage, at Forteau in 1907.

“More than a hundred miles from the closest hospital, Dennison Cottage provided medical care in the form of emergency services and the delivery of children,” Dohey wrote in his blog, “Archival Moments.”

“Miss Florence Bailey (of whom there is a picture in the exhibit) was the first nurse at Dennison Cottage and served there for eighteen years. She was recruited from England and was renowned for her caring nature and expert abilities as a mid-wife. She also became quite skilled at driving dogsleds before leaving the management of the station to the nurses that would follow in her footsteps.”

In addition to the Forteau exhibit, The Rooms has made almost 6,000 photographs of historical Labrador available on its website www.therooms.ca.

thom@thombarker.ca

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