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History of Twillingate Museum

“Where the Past is always Present!”


The Twillingate Museum Committee was formed in 1972, inspired by a concern that local artifacts were being bought by collectors from outside Newfoundland and that much of the history of the community was gradually being lost.

The first museum was located in a house on the North side of Twillingate. With a small collection of artifacts, the museum opened to the public during the summer of 1972. It soon became apparent that more space was needed, if we were to display the artifacts we were receiving. Around this time, the congregation of St. Peter’s Anglican Church decided that its Rectory had outlived its usefulness as a residence and, after several joint meetings between the Museum Committee and the Parish Council, the Parish Council decided to allow the Rectory to be used as a museum. Reverend John Spencer, Anglican Priest from 1970 – 1975, was Chair of the Museum Committee during this time and was instrumental in the early development of the Twillingate Museum Association, the organization to be responsible for operating the museum. The artifacts initially placed at the first museum where then moved to their new home in the current Twillingate Museum.

The Museum was originally the third Rectory of St. Peter’s Anglican Church on this site – the previous two rectories were destroyed by fire. The building was constructed in 1915 using materials from an older building. The local residents, as well as people living outside the community, are honoured to have their antiques displayed in the museum for others to view and enjoy.

Twillingate Museum Association continues to be a non-profit volunteer organization and operates Twillingate Museum and Crafts.

The Association works tirelessly to preserve the history and the cultural background of the community. Great care is taken in the presentation of the exhibits and preservation of the artifacts. The Committee continually works to upgrade, as resources permit, for the exhibits to meet professional standards. The Committee has undertaken their heritage work from a base of sound financial management, which includes a Craft Shop as an integral part of the operations. By promoting crafts, the Museum Association has lead significant tourism development in the area. The Museum consistently attracts approximately 12,000 visitors annually.

For over 30 years the Twillingate Museum Association has worked as a model for museum development throughout the province. In 1972, Twillingate Museum was the 4th community museum in the province, and the first in central Newfoundland. There are now approximately 65 museums in the Province. Informal advice has been freely provided to other Museum Committees wishing to learn from our experiences.