Thursday, 30 July 2015

Doll Day: Learning and Fun in a Happy Afternoon

By Annemarie Christie

Annemarie discussing doll clothes                    Photo by Bill Brennan

Nine little girls and their dolls arrived at the museum on Monday, July 27th for the first ever Doll Day, presented at the Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove Museum. The girls were dressed for the occasion, many of them in matching outfits with their doll’s outfit. Little girls, dolls and fancy clothes have a long history, some of which we explored during the event. The event was created to teach children about this history and to ask some thoughtful questions, while at the same time having fun with their dolls and even enjoying a little “tea party” after.

Lila introducing her doll Lisa                                Photo by Bill Brennan

The event began with the girls writing up name labels for themselves, and also for their dolls. I asked them to introduce themselves and their dolls, and explain why the doll they brought is their favourite. I then discussed the history of dolls and various types of dolls, from early wooden dolls to the modern dolls I had brought. We talked about baby dolls, Barbie dolls, national costume dolls, character dolls (like Anne of Green Gables), modern porcelain dolls and “grown up” dolls in fancy dress and high heels, such as the museum has in their collection (see below). The girls were fascinated, asked lots of questions and shared their thoughts.

Two dolls in fancy dress; part of the “Nina” doll series created in the 1950s by the Canadian company, Dee an Cee.           Photo by Annemarie Christie

Katie took the girls on a short tour and scavenger hunt in the museum while the tea party was set up. When the girls returned we served apple juice from a teapot into real china tea cups, passed around some cookies and sat down with them to just relax and talk and have fun. Lollipops were handed out as well!

Willow at the tea party                                     Photo by Bill Brennan

Afterwards photos were taken of the girls and their dolls:

Vera and Chloe                 Photo by Annemarie Christie

Everybody who attended loves dolls. Even as adults many of us still love dolls and keep a favourite childhood doll forever. I am one of those, as is Katie, who brought her Anne of Green Gables doll. Why do we love dolls so much?  Dolls are fun, plain and simple! They are cute. And you can dress them in lots of different clothes. What’s not to love? We like to have them around and we like to play with them. Throw a tea party into the mix, and you have an afternoon of pure happiness. This is exactly what we experienced on our lovely Doll Day.

                                                                             -- Annemarie

Friday, 24 July 2015

“Friar Tuck” Salt and Pepper Shakers

By: Annemarie Christie 

You might wonder why monks would make appropriate figures for salt and pepper shakers, but they were very popular in the 1950s, and today these ceramic “Friar Tuck” salt and pepper shakers at the museum are a very collectible set.

Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove Museum: Photo by Annemarie Christie

These two little charmers in the photo above reside in the Lifestyles section of the museum. They have no manufacturer’s name on them and no factory stamp. This leads to the conclusion that they were likely to have been manufactured in imitation of the Hummel “Friar Tuck” Monk salt and pepper shakers introduced by the German Goebel Porcelain Factory in the 1950s.  If they were genuine Goebel-made shakers they would have a Goebel mark (all genuine Hummel figurines have a crown mark, a bee in a v-shaped mark or one of the Goebel line marks on the bottom). The museum’s shakers could have been manufactured in the United States or Japan, and in spite of being an imitation, they are very detailed and painted by hand.

The original Goebel shakers were inspired by the porcelain Hummel figurines of Friar Tuck, also made by the Goebel factory, which date back to the early 1900s. The Hummel Monk figurines were purely decorative, whereas the Friar Tuck tableware series they produced was for table use. The tableware included sugar bowls and creamers, mustard pots and jugs, and even a Friar Tuck beer mug.

The background to the creation of the now famous Hummel figurines is an interesting one. The Goebel company made an exclusive agreement with Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel and the Convent of Siessen that granted Goebel the right to adapt the artist’s drawings into three-dimensional porcelain figurines. It would seem logical that the monk figurine was based on one of Sister Maria’s drawings.

If you compare the above photo of the museum’s shakers with the photo below of the original Hummel shakers, you can see the difference between the imitation and the originals. The museum’s shakers have slightly different hair, and the figures are holding the bible directly in front of them, rather than at their sides. They also have a slightly impish look on their faces, which makes them even cuter than the original Hummel shakers, in my opinion!

Hummel salt and pepper shakers: Photo courtesy of eBay

If you have a further interest in collectible salt and pepper shakers there is a group called The Salt and Pepper Club, whose sole focus is on shakers (you can find them online at

I hope everyone enjoyed my first blog post for the Logy Bay-Outer Cove-Middle Cove Museum. Come on in and see the shakers for yourself!


Thursday, 23 July 2015

Exhibition Highlights Women

Photograph by Katie Harvey

The Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove Museum presents a new exhibit which highlights the role of women in the household, and the history of women's beauty. The exhibit on beauty contains such items as: jewellery boxes, hair pins, a gold brooch and a very unique powder case.

Photograph by Kenneth J. Harvey

Powder cases, more commonly known as compacts, date to the early 1900s. In those times, make-up had not gained widespread social acceptance, and so were concealed by women. Purses had special compartments to store your compact, and later they were attached to finger chains so they could be displayed. 

It was considered taboo for women to talk about going to the bathroom, so they would excuse themselves to go “powder their noses.” Compacts were reusable in the past, but in the 1960s they began to be manufactured as disposable. 

Photograph by Kenneth J. Harvey

In the past, the household was strictly the woman's domain. She was responsible for taking care of the children, and tending to any housework that needed to be done. Darren Hynes writes:

"Housework was year-round and was exclusively the woman's domain. Women and girls had to cook, set the table, wash the dishes, do the wash, iron, sew, sweep the [floor], and rock the baby. Some activities took place on certain days, for example, scrubbing might be done on Saturday, as was polishing shoes, cleaning the cutlery, and preparing Sunday clothes. Added to the round of housework and child-raising were activities such as carding and spinning wool and knitting it into garments, 'fancy work', sewing (making clothes and joining quilts), and making mats."

The exhibit displays artifacts that women would have used to wash and iron clothes, as well as a beautiful old spinning wheel which was used to spin wool. Come visit the museum and learn see how women lived in the past.

-Katie Harvey

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Memories of Outer Cove Plane Crash: Mena and Charlie Power

Mena and Charlie Power. Photograph by Kenneth J. Harvey

For Mena and Charlie Power, the day of the Outer Cove Plane Crash will forever remain etched in their minds, and not simply for the reasons you may imagine. 

I had the pleasure of interviewing this lovely couple last week for our exhibit on the crash, and here is a brief part of the story they told:

"Well it was a memorial day for us because that night, early in the morning, rather, I went out to the hospital. I was expecting a baby, a bit premature; I think it was four weeks premature. It was early in the morning. Not a blade of snow. Just went with a pair of slippers, right? Yeah, and it was quite foggy when we were leaving, you could see the sky blowing in then; about 2:00 in the morning. Of course, James was born just as I got there. This pilot had the same birthday – he died on his birthday." - Mena Power

Want to hear more about Mena and Charlie's memories of that day? Their entire story, along with several others, will be revealed in our new exhibit on Saturday, September 5 from 2:00-4:00pm. We hope to see you here.

-Katie Harvey 

Annual Caplin Scull at Middle Cove Beach: Mabel and Gerald Upshall

Caplin on Middle Cove Beach. Photo by Julie Pomeroy.

Guest Blog Post by Julie Pomeroy

When I was on my way to work last Friday I noticed activity on Middle Cove Beach so I stopped in to see if the caplin were rolling. They were not rolling at that time, but there were still some there a few feet back from shore. While I was there I came across this couple, Mabel and Gerald Upshall. Mabel is originally from Bay Roberts and Gerald is from St. John’s. They lived in Toronto for many years but moved back home about 20 years ago and now live in St. John’s. They have been coming to Middle Cove Beach every year since they moved back home to get their feed of Caplin.

Mabel and Gerald Upshall with their caplin. Photo by Julie Pomeroy.

I saw them there about 8:30 that morning, and they were telling me that they missed them rolling in with the tide earlier that morning but they were going to get what they could with their net. Gerald uses a landing net for catching caplin, saying that he doesn’t like using a seine and finds this net easier. They will fry up their catch for lunch and freeze what’s left over for a time when they’re in the mood for caplin later in the year. They will also bring some to her brother who is now 90 years old and not able to get around to get his own anymore.

Mabel told me that she separates the spawny ones from the regular ones. She can’t stand to eat the spawny ones, but her husband Gerald likes them better. Mabel also told me that she cleans the caplin before she frys them up. She removes the head, tail, and fins and then washes them off. A practice that her father in law once told her ruined them.

They both remember years ago when people commonly put caplin on their potato fields. Do you have any stories about caplin; how you catch them, how you eat them? If so, please contact Lisa at or (709) 726-5272 for a chance to be featured on our blog. Or, drop in for a cup of tea and share your stories for our archival audio recordings.

*Note: contact information has been edited to reflect the 2016 season

Friday, 10 July 2015

Annual Caplin Scull at Middle Cove Beach: Casting a Line

Waiting on the caplin. Photo by Kenneth J. Harvey.

Today is a good day.

After weeks of (impatiently) waiting, the caplin have finally arrived at Middle Cove Beach. 

Leading up to their arrival, the beach has been completely congested with people hoping to catch a glimpse of one of nature's most spectacular occurrences. Not to mention, they want to snag a few tasty morsels to bring home with them. 

This event draws thousands of people to the beach every year, and the waiting, I have come to realize, is an event in and of itself. 

Yes, there is quite the song and dance associated with the waiting. Local newspapers have been publishing regular updates, Twitter and Facebook are blowing up with people who want to know where the caplin are, what they are doing, and how long they have been doing it. 

Needless to say, there is no shortage of instant information on the caplin scull. I followed #CaplinRoll2015 quite closely this year. That feed, coupled with the help of our lovely Twitter followers, granted me the information I needed, and I knew the minute the caplin had arrived.

When I received the news, I jumped into the car and headed for the beach. Rounding the corner, I was shocked by the amount of cars that were littered just about everywhere that they could squeeze. Finding a parking spot was lots of fun.

I arrived on the beach, and my God, the people! I had never participated in the caplin scull; this was my very first time. I have to say, it is an amazing sight for someone who has never seen it before. There were people everywhere, wearing rubber boots, carrying nets and buckets of all shapes and sizes.

The caplin were about 20 feet out from the shore. You could tell because they create what looks like a cloud of dark water. People were just hanging around, waiting for the tide to turn and bring the caplin to them. 

One gentleman really had it figured out. He was out in the shallow water, casting his fishing line out into the schools of caplin. Each time he cast his line, he was able to hook a caplin in the side, simply due to the fact that there was so many in one spot.

His system was simple; cast out, hook the caplin, reel it in, unhook it, toss it to his 10-year-old-son, and the boy would put it in the bucket. It was incredible to watch.

Father tossing his son caplin. The caplin is in mid-air. Photo by Katie Harvey.

I sat near the father and son duo, and chatted with the son for a bit. He said this was his first time participating in the caplin scull too, but he was a real natural. He proudly showed the caplin his father had hooked to anyone who asked, inviting them to rub their fingers along the soft back of the small fish.

Boy with caplin. Photo by Katie Harvey.

I will be blogging and tweeting about the caplin scull at Middle Cove Beach as long as they stick around. You can follow along @LCMCOCMuseum. I will also be collecting stories and memories, so if you see me on the beach with my phone and a camera or recorder, come say hi. You may be featured on our blog, or even in a short film Kenneth J. Harvey and I are putting together. As always, you can contact me at lbmcocmuseum(at) or (709) 726-5272.

-Katie Harvey

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Archaeologist for a Day: Cultivating Children's Interest in Heritage

Explaining the tools. Photo by Annemarie Christie.

On Friday, July 3 the museum hosted a children's program for the first time called "Be an Archaeologist for a Day." The program was designed to teach children what it is exactly that archaeologists and museum workers do on a day-to-day basis, and also to cultivate their interest in heritage.

We began with a mock archaeological dig. The children were all given tools to dig, and buckets filled with sand and artifacts. The children recovered things like candle holders, dinosaur bones, wooden beads, old coins, thimbles, and much more.

Digging for artifacts. Photo by Annemarie Christie.

Next, we cleaned the artifacts. The children learned that artifacts are very delicate, and so they must be handled with great care. We used toothbrushes and lukewarm water to clean the items they had found when digging. The kids each had an opportunity to share what they had found, which everyone did with great pride. We explained why these artifacts were relevant, which gave the kids a look into the past, and how people used to live. 

To finish things off our Museum Coordinator, Katie, gave a demonstration on how to properly handle artifacts, and how we label them. The kids were amazed at the tiny numbers that are written on each artifact to identify them, and some even decided they wanted to practice writing as small as they could when the demonstration was complete. 

Giving a demonstration on how to properly handle artifacts. Photo by Annemarie Christie. 

It was a wonderful day, as the museum was brought to life with the children's curiosity and intrigue. I asked the kid's at the end of the program if anyone wanted to be an archaeologist when they grow up, and many enthusiastic hands flew into the air. 

We are hoping to host the program again over the course of the summer, so keep your eyes open for information on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Artifacts that have been cleaned and left to dry at the end of the day. Photo by Annemarie Christie. 

-Katie Harvey

Thursday, 2 July 2015

May Bush

If you take a drive through the community of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove during the month of May, you are bound to see a few may bushes that are being displayed by locals. What is a may bush you ask? Well, it has its roots in Ireland, and is, as you may have guessed, predominately a Roman Catholic practice. People tie a fir or spruce tree onto their fences, or their decks - pretty much anywhere that is visible to passer-byers - for the month of May, and will sometimes leave them up until the end of June. People may decorate them in a variety of ways, using things like flowers and ribbons. 

There are several different reasons why people engage in this tradition. In Ireland, this practice was believed to ward off evil, and bring good luck to those who took part in the practice. It is also typically associated with The Virgin Mary; May being "Mary's Month" in the Catholic Faith. Lara Maynard writes:

"Newfoundlanders who erect may bushes nowadays usually cite the commemoration of "Mary's month" as the reason for doing so. Indeed, their may bushes are often predominantly or solely decorated in blue ribbons, blue being the colour often associated with Mary in iconography. Some people add red ribbons to their bushes in June in commemoration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and do not take them down until the end of that month."

I am looking to collect narratives from residents of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove who still take part in the may bush tradition. Please contact Katie at lbmcocmuseum(at) or (709) 726-5272 if you have any information.

-Katie Harvey