History exhibit illustrating P.E.I. in 1860s opening at Eptek Tuesday

Published on July 14, 2014

SUMMERSIDE – Eptek Centre in Summerside has a new history exhibition for this year and it officially opens Tuesday morning, July 15.

Boyde Beck, curator of history for the Prince Edward Island Museum, has created an exhibition that provides a snapshot of the activity on the Island in the 1860s illustrating the prosperity and self-sufficiency of the colony at the time of the 1864 conference. The factors portrayed explain why Islanders were critically weighing the benefits of Confederation.

“In this year of spectacular celebration for the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown conference, it is important for Islanders and visitors to have an opportunity to understand how the elements at play in the mid-1860s were viewed by Islanders of the time,” says Paula Kenny, site director at Eptek Art & Culture Centre.

At this time, P.E.I. was enjoying a golden age in shipbuilding and trade, and many of the factors pulling together other British North American colonies had little relevance to Islanders.

The exhibition features dozens and dozens of artefacts from the Provincial Collection of the Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation. These historic items provide a glimpse into the Island’s past and make for a colourful and interesting display, especially the militia tunics that take centre stage in the gallery.

A special bonus for visitors to the exhibition is the fact that guided tours are provided by student guides dressed in period costume. As with the exhibition, the creation of the costumes was supported by the PEI2014 Fund. Each of the female guides glides through the exhibition area in a full hoop skirt while male staff are more casually dressed in collarless shirts and suspenders.

The exhibition continues through the summer until Oct. 10.

The public is invited to the official opening at 10 a.m. on July 15. Light refreshments will be served.