Home Why Collect? Fun Learning Credits


Strolling through the exhibits of Canada's oldest continuing public museum, exploring its collection and interacting with its staff, visitors soon discover the dynamic ecological context of the museum's natural history specimens, and the fascinating human story of its cultural artefacts. It's easy to feel a sense of permanence about a museum's collection: a well-established suite of objects which have been assembled, preserved, cared for, and displayed, all within the museum milieu. Yet just as intriguing as the objects themselves, are the people who brought these pieces to the museum in the first place; people who first encountered the objects far from the museum setting; people who knew that objects could speak in perpetuity; people who themselves had something to say. Over the last century and a quarter, many of the most enthusiastic contributors to New Brunswick's Natural History Society and Museum in Saint John have been local women operating in various capacities to bring scientific and cultural information to a curious public. Just a few of these women are featured here.


With virtually hundreds of captivating stories to choose from, our greatest challenge was to narrow down our selection to this illustrative group. Among them you'll find world travellers, scientists, scholars, mothers, musicians, artists, missionaries, teachers, and at least one taxidermist. We leave you to discover the others: women like the Robertson sisters, Madge, Sophia and Mary, who in the 1930s and 40s donated dozens of historical and international items, including firearms, brooches, maps, and articles of clothing; or H. Augusta F. Otty, whose antique coins, documents, tableware, kitchen implements and gowns still enrich the museum's collection. For now, we invite you to come in and get acquainted with but a few of the remarkable women who fashioned the museum's collection, cared for it, and made the objects speak.

[Click on the images to learn more about these women]