Parrsborough Shore Historical Society

Identity area


Authorized form of name

Parrsborough Shore Historical Society

Parallel form(s) of name

Other form(s) of name

  • Ottawa House By-The-Sea Museum & Archives


  • Community

Contact area


Susan Clarke: Manager/Curator



Street address

PO Box 98
1155 Whitehall Road




Nova Scotia

Country name


Postal code








June Wagstaff: Archives Primary contact



Street address



Country name

Postal code






Description area


In the mid 1970's, a group of concerned individuals, who were interested in preserving the history of the communities along the shore founded the Parrsborough Shore Historical Society (PSHS). The first meetings were held in community halls and other available spaces throughout the area. So began the stories being told, (some fact, some fiction), but passing along valued information for future generations to know regarding the early history of the Parrsborough Shore. Around 1981, when the PSHS approached the Honorable George Henley, the local MP at the time, expressing the historical importance of the Ottawa House and what the future for the building would be. The Nova Scotia Government purchased the Ottawa House from Peter & Winnie McCaig, who operated it as a hotel until 1979 and the society began operating the Ottawa House By-The-Sea Museum as a tenant of the Government.

Geographical and cultural context

The geographical area covered in the mandate of the PSHS starts in Five Islands continuing down along the coastal communities and inland areas of the Minus Basin to Shulie, as far as Southampton. The cultural heritage, to name a few, include First Nations, Acadians, The New England Planters, and The United Empire Loyalists.

Mandates/Sources of authority

Mission: To preserve, showcase and celebrate the history and heritage of the Parrsborough Shore area and to generate an enthusiasm for discovery, among both locals and visitors.
Motto: Celebrate our Past; Invest in our Future.
Vision: PSHS - We will bring Nova Scotia, Canada and the world to the crossroads of northern Nova Scotian and Canadian history, as experienced or witnessed on the Parrsborough Shore (covering the coastline and adjacent inland areas from Five Islands to Apple River).
Vision: Ottawa House Museum - The Ottawa House By the Sea will become a community focal point as a world-class museum and archives at the historical crossroads of early Nova Scotian and Canadian development, bringing to life the centuries-old history and heritage of the Parrsborough Shore.

Administrative structure

The PSHS is Governed by a Board of Directors and Special Advisors to the board. The Board of Directors meet on the second Tuesday of each month, Society members are invited to sit in on monthly meetings to observe the activities being brought forward by the elected board. The AGM is held at the end of the fiscal year, which is March where society members have the opportunity to vote.
The PSHS employs one full time position as Manager/Curator, one part time museum assistant, and one part time archival postion.
Federal and Provincial Student Grant applications are submitted each year and other types of funding opportunities that are available. Volunteers are a vital part of the operation of the museum and archives.

Records management and collecting policies

Archives Policy Policy Statement
Parrsborough Shore Historical
Archives and Genealogy

Mandate: The mandate of the Parrsborough Shore Historical Society (PSHS) Archives to acquire, arrange, describe, preserve and make available records relating to the Parrsborough Shore, its citizens, and their activities.

The Parrsborough Shore Historical Society Archives exists to:
(1) collect and preserve archival materials which illustrate the growth and development of the Parrsborough Shore area;
(2) arrange and describe these materials according to archival principles and make them accessible to the general public on a regular basis, unless access is restricted by legal requirements or written agreements with the donor;
(3) provide adequate and appropriate conditions for the storage, protection, and preservation of archival material;
(4) provide regular reference services to individuals, organizations, the municipal government, or other groups interested in the activities and holdings of the Archives;
(5) provide educational and outreach programming whenever possible to increase public awareness and appreciation of Parrsborough Shore history and development

Materials acquired by the Parrsborough Shore Historical Society Archives shall become the permanent property of the Archives and therefore, the society until such time as the Archivists deems it no longer relevant to the Archives, in which case the material may be deaccessioned. Deaccessioning will not take place without the written approval of the department responsible for the Archives. All information pertaining to the deaccessioning and disposition of material will be retained in the Archives’ records. The Archives retains the right to reproduce materials by mechanical, electronic, or photographic means for security, conservation, or research purposes. The Archives will accept historical material of any medium, including; textual records; photographs; and electronically stored data at the discretion of the Archivist.
The Archives retains the right to charge for any reproduction or other research service. A schedule of fees will be made available to the general public on a regular basis, except when borrowing material for short-term loans to reproduce or to include in displays or exhibits.
Materials from the archives may be loaned to other institutions or organizations only under the following circumstances:
(1) written authorization is obtained from the department responsible for the Archives;
(2) the Archivist provides written permission for the loan;
(3) the borrower ensures adequate care and handling of the material on loan. If at any time the Archives determines that the material on loan is not being cared for adequately, the Archivist may cancel the loan and request the immediate return of the material. No person shall be prevented from using archival material unless it is determined that the materials will be physically abused or used in a libelous or illegal manner.


The Ottawa House Museum and Archives, is situated in an area of the province that dates back to the migration routes of the First Nations peoples. The site witnessed the 17th century arrival of the Acadians, the 18th century arrival of the New England Planters followed by the Loyalists and others. The building itself, now owned (since 2015) by the Parrsborough Shore Historical Society, dates back to the late 1700’s. It is the oldest structure still standing along this shore and one of the oldest in the Province. It was once the summer home of Sir Charles Tupper and is still undergoing substantial renovations. It houses over 450 artifacts of various periods.
A new archival space was created as part of the reconstruction project through the generous donation of two Parrsboro born brothers, Steven and the late Paul O'Regan. Completion of this area, enabled the Society to meet the standards required to become an Institutional Member of the CNSA. In 2015 , the archival room was dedicated as "The O'Regan Family Archives".


The archival holdings include: Family Files, Family Books, Vital Statistics, School Registers, Tax Records, Community Files, Newspaper Clippings, Scrapbook Collection, and Personal Collections. Conrad Byers, a local historian and founding member of the PSHS has donated a vast photograph collection, archival records, and books. Conrad, being a Captain himself, has collected many marine related books through the years. A room upstairs , with a view of the bay was chosen to display the various categories of books, which in 2015 was dedicated as the "Conrad Byers Marine Library".

Finding aids, guides and publications

There are Finding Aids available. New ones are being created and others updated.

Access area

Opening times

May through September the Ottawa House By-the-Sea Museum & Archives is open daily 10 am to 6pm
Thursdays the remainder of the year 10:30am to 2:30pm or by appointment contact

Access conditions and requirements

Access Policy
Parrsborough Shore Historical Society
Archives / Genealogy

Mandate: The mandate of the Parrsborough Shore Historical Society (PSHS) Archives to acquire, arrange, describe preserve and make available records relating to the Parrsborough Shore, its citizens and their activities.

Access Policy: The permanent holdings of the Parrsborough Shore Historical Society Archives are available to the public under the following conditions:

(1) Patrons using the collections in the archives must observe all instruction for the use of archival material.
(2) Access to restricted records will be limited to authorized individuals only.
(3) For the protection of its collections, the archives reserve the right to restrict the use of materials that are not processed, materials of exceptional value, and fragile materials.
(4) Patrons must honor any restrictions placed by donors of private materials.
(5) Failure to observe the rules will result in forfeiture of the privilege of using the archives.

Access Restrictions:
To guard the privacy of all concerned, patrons must apply specifically for permission to use any of the materials. The archivist then makes a decision based on the sensitivity of the materials and the legitimacy of the request.


Handicap Parking Spaces
Main floor to Genealogy Room Wheelchair Accessible
Wheelchair Accessible

Services area

Research services

Being Reviewed

Reproduction services

Being Reviewed

Public areas

WiFi Available
Tea, Coffee, Soda, Ice Cream
Local History Books for Sale

Control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used



Level of detail


Dates of creation, revision and deletion


  • English



Maintenance notes

Access points

Access Points

  • Clipboard

Primary contact