The Bass River Heritage Society was formed in 1997 when a group of local volunteers decided that it was time to start officially preserving, the community’s rich history, that has been growing since Bass River was founded in 1765. The group’s first major endeavor was in 1998 with the construction of the Bass River Heritage Park. The park was situated on the site of the first three Dominion Chair Factories and across the road from the Dominion Chair Company Store. A kiosk was built and wall panels were made displaying pictures and brief histories of such things as the Dominion Chair Company, the wharves and shipbuilding, the Pole Railway and schools. In late 1998 and early 1999, a group of local students with the help of artist Christine Sandeson designed and painted roof panels, each showing an aspect of life in Bass River. Walking trails, flowerbeds and a picnic area where also developed, offering tourists the perfect place to rest and learn about the community they are traveling through.
Late in the year of 1999, the society’s dream became a reality; a museum was to begin. The Canada Atlantic District Church of the Nazarene donated the local Nazarene church, which had been out of use since 1991, to the society for one dollar. The society was able to lease the land where the last three factories stood and they had the church building moved about 2000 meters to the site. Since opening, the Bass River Heritage Museum has had visitors from all around the world.
The countless hours of work put in by a group of dedicated volunteers are apparent upon walking in the front door. The museum has a little bit of every aspect of Bass River history and so is sure to interest all its visitors, inspiring nostalgia in some and wonderment in others. There is an old country kitchen, a stylish parlour, a display of sewing work, uniforms and various other items from WWI and WWII, farm tools, silica and a wheel from the Pole Railway and of course the famous Dominion Chairs. Along with the displays there are also books containing school photos from the 1920’s through to the 1960’s, photos of factory workers, photos of people of the past going about their daily lives and much more.
The Bass River Heritage Society continues working on gathering artifacts and information from all those who are willing to share. The community is greatly indebted to this group for all their work in preserving Bass River’s past. If you’re in the area stop in and rediscover your family roots and learn about the village where the chair makers and their world-renowned chairs once thrived!