Exploring BiotaNB 2016 – Common Species

While Aaron Fairweather was searching for an as-of-yet undescribed species of ant, two other members of the day’s Mount Sagamook expedition, Dr. Stephen Clayden and summer student Victor Szymanski, were compiling a collection of all the plant species in a defined area near the summit.

Unlike their ant-collecting colleague, Stephen and Victor were collecting common, or well-known, species such as shrubs, small trees, even blueberries, among other plants. It’s what Stephen calls a “representative collection of things.”

Victor Szymanski collects a birch specimen.

Although the species they were collecting are relatively well-known, it fits well with the Biota mandate of building up a collection that documents the diversity of flora and fauna in a particular region. And in this particular area on Mount Sagamook, the species are very diverse. Stephen is able to quickly point out that there could be as many as 25-30 species of lichens on the rocks immediately in front of him.

Stephen Clayden points out the many lichen species (25-30)
located in the area immediately surrounding him.

There can also be new knowledge gained from common species. This new knowledge can be gained by comparing populations with those from other areas. Modern techniques with DNA can also yield new insights. Just because they are common species does not mean that they don’t still have secrets to reveal.

Once specimens are collected, they are placed in a plant press and brought back to the lab where they will dry out and be used for further study.

Victor places a specimen in the plant press, to be brought
back to the lab and dried for further study.

Recently Conserved Paintings from the New Brunswick Museum Collection

A regular part of the care of a collection is the effort to ensure its preservation. Another facet of a museum’s goal is to share the collection with the public through exhibition. Sometimes objects are unable to be displayed because their condition compromises the artist’s intent or exposing them may actually cause more damage. Over the past thirty years the New Brunswick Museum was engaged in an ongoing fine art conservation project in conjunction with the Provincial Fine Art Conservation Laboratory located at the Owens Art Gallery in Sackville, New Brunswick. The works listed below have received recent conservation treatment by now-retired Fine Art Conservator of New Brunswick, Adam Karpowicz.

Most venerable museums have artifacts in their care that require some attention. Sometimes significant objects that merit preservation are acquired even though they may not be in prime display condition. Oftentimes the material used by artists, either the varnish or glazes, can deteriorate or change over time. Sometimes the methods used to frame a work may compromise the structure and appearance. Occasionally an item might sustain some accidental damage. Whatever the reason, in order to ensure the long term preservation of the work, an intervention is necessary.

These photos show the paintings before and after Adam Karpowicz applied conservation techniques. His work breathes new life into these paintings, ensuring that the artist’s intention is once again visible.

Kenneth Keith Forbes (Canadian, 1892 – 1980)
The Right Honourable Richard Bedford Bennett, Prime Minister of Canada (1930-1935), 1938
oil on canvas
Bequest of the Right Honourable Richard Bedford, Viscount Bennett, 1948 (1948.5)

Attributed to Thomas Hanford Wentworth (American, 1781 – 1849)
Portrait of an Unidentified Man
(Possibly Charles Humphrey), c. 1835
oil on canvas
New Brunswick Museum Collection (X16481)

John Christopher Miles (Canadian, 1832 – 1911)
Woodland Fishing Scene with Boy, c. 1880
oil on canvas
Gift of Kenneth Allison Wilson, 1954 (1954.165)


John Thomas Stanton (Canadian, c. 1815 – 1866)
after Richard Wilson (British, 1713 – 1782)
The Ruined Temple, 1856
oil on millboard
Purchase, 2004 (2004.13)


Artist Unknown (American School)
Bark Mary Rideout of St. Andrews, N.B., 1868
reverse-painted oil on glass
Purchase, 2010 (2010.36)

Michael Anderson (Scottish or Canadian, 1824 – 1853)
Aaron and Hur Staying Up the Hands of Moses during the Battle with the Amalekites at Rephidim, 1850
oil on canvas
Purchase, 1958 (A58.30)


John Christian Schetky (Scottish, 1778-1874)
Battle of the Chesapeake and the Shannon, c. 1815
oil on canvas
John Clarence Webster Canadiana Collection (W1609)

Albert Gallatin Hoit (American, 1809 – 1856)
Mary Ann (Maria) Street Berton Beckwith, 1837
oil on canvas
Gift of the Estate of Sir John Douglas Hazen, 1959 (1959.57)

Albert Gallatin Hoit (American, 1809 – 1856)
John Adolphus Beckwith, 1837
oil on canvas
Gift of the Estate of Sir John Douglas Hazen, 1959 (1959.56)


Marion Elizabeth Jack (Canadian, 1866 – 1954)
Apple Trees at Burton, New Brunswick, 1922-1930
oil on canvasboard
Gift of Catherine Coombes, 2008 (2008.27.1)

The New Brunswick Museum workshop series Natural Dyes with Denise Richard

On Sunday, 29 May from 1-5pm join the New Brunswick Museum for a one day Natural Dyes workshop with New Brunswick Artist, Denise Richard.

In this Natural Dye workshop, participants will explore a variety of dyes including plants, roots, wood and insect dyes. By the end of the workshop, they will have learned to record their methods, have a multitude of samples, and learn simple Shibori techniques to create a unique natural dye silk scarf. There will also be a short presentation by Peter Larocque, NBM Curator, looking at some fantastic pieces from the collection that use natural dye techniques.

The NBM spoke with Denise about herself and her art practice. Keep reading to learn more about her career and what participants can look forward to in the workshop!


Denise Richard has a Diploma in Art, Craft and Design from the Kootenay School of the Arts at Selkirk College in British Columbia. She is a multi-disciplinary craftsperson and designer, the focus of her studio work being the use of natural dyes and the exploration of felt in both sculptural and functional forms. She has shown her work in solo exhibitions and group shows in Canada and Europe. Denise has been an instructor since 2005 and is currently teaching in both the Foundation Visual Arts and Fibre Arts studios at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design (NBCCD).

NBM: Tell me a little bit about your practice. What materials do you use and where do you draw your inspiration from?
DR: My practice has evolved over the years, but I am definitely technique oriented. I continually learn techniques that inform my new work. For example I learned to felt and explored this medium as much as possible for a variety of products. I make everything from boiled wool rugs, furniture and garments, to Jim Hanson inspired puppets and felted mask for stage. What interests me is to defy design obsolescence. I want to design functional items, made from quality natural materials that will last a very long time. I dye most of my own fibres and textiles and create my own yardage for various projects. I work mainly with wool, silk, horse hair, linen and leather.

Fille de Mer, Denise Richard

NBM: If you weren’t an artist and a teacher, what do you think you would be doing?
If I weren’t a designer and teacher, I would be a puppeteer.

Headpieces, Denise Richard

NBM: We understand you have an interest in theatre and have done costume design for several productions. In what ways does theatre inform your artwork and vise versa?
DR: What attracts me to theatre is working collaboratively with the Artistic Director and creating a new world which convinces the audience that they are somehow a fly on the wall, witnessing someone else’s story. I love to watch my work come to life on stage and watch the audience react to the work.

Mouse King, Denise Richard

NBM: Do you have any hidden talents that not very many people would know about you?
DR: My hidden talent?  I am quite fearless when it comes to my work and I am not afraid to take risks.

Mask, Denise Richard

NBM: Are there any artists or craftspeople that you look to for inspiration (living or dead)?
DR: I admire a great many designers and artists but at the moment, the two that I look to for inspiration are Philippe Starck and Alexander McQueen. Alexander McQueen was above all an amazing craftsmen. I have yet to see anyone manipulate fabric like him. As for Starck, he is a bold designer who works in a variety of mediums and he is very innovative with materials.

Lamp by Phillipe Starck and gown by Alexander McQueen.

Photo credit: www.phillipstarck.com, http://www.metmuseum.org/alexandermcqueen

NBM: What can workshop participants look forward to learning on 29th May?
DR: In the Natural Dye workshop, students will explore a variety of dyes including plants, roots, wood and insect dyes. By the end of the day, they will have learned to fill in data sheets for recording their methods, they will have a multitude of samples and they will learn simple Shibori techniques to create a unique natural dye silk scarf.



The NBM hopes to see you at Denise’s workshop on Sunday, 29 May from 1-5pm!

The registration fee is $99 for NBM members and $110 for non-members.

Registration is required to hold the seat.

To register call 643 – 2349/1-888-268-9595.

Unlocking Mysteries at the New Brunswick Museum: An 18th-century United Empire Loyalist glass plate



Maker Unknown (Bohemian School) [possibly the Harrach Factory, Neuwelt, Czech Republic)
Plate, bowl or undertray, before 1789
blown, cut and engraved colourless glass
overall: 3 × 23.5 × 23.5 cm
Gift of Angela Huntjens and Dr. Johannes Huntjens, 2015 (2015.49)
New Brunswick Museum Collection

It is extremely rare for 18th century glass objects to have survived in New Brunswick. It is even more extraordinary for a table service piece, other than a drinking vessel, to have survived with its provenance intact.  A plate from the Colonel Richard Hewlett family donated to the New Brunswick Museum in December 2015 by Angela Huntjens and Dr. Johannes Huntjens is a major addition to the NBM’s collection of Loyalist-era glassware used in the province.

This plate, bowl or undertray is most likely of Bohemian origin. A commentary on this object provided by Ian Simmonds of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, who specializes in the history and interpretation of early American glass, suggested that the piece may be attributable to the Harrach Factory in Neuwelt, Czech Republic. His review indicated that an existing pattern book from the factory shows similar approaches to shape, form and design.

The original owner, Colonel Richard Hewlett, fought in the American Revolutionary War as a Loyalist and settled his family in the Parish of Hampstead (present day Queenstown) after the conflict.  This piece remained in the Hewlett family until about 1906 when it was presented by two descendants as a wedding gift to the local Anglican rector and his wife.

The NBM currently houses half a dozen drinking glasses from the late 18th century and one decanter box containing glasses and bottles – all of which appear to have United Empire Loyalist provenance.  This tray certainly expands the representation of late 18th century luxury wares cherished by those immigrants who came to the province in the years after the American Revolutionary War.

This item also has potential for additional research relating to trading patterns between central Europe and North America in the 18th century.  It is also an excellent comparative example for understanding a variety of glass decorating processes and techniques.

Provenance: Colonel Richard Hewlett (1729-1789) and his wife, Mary Townsend (1734-1819); to their son, Joseph Hewlett (1772-1821) and his wife, Clarissa Winslow (1770-1861); to their son, Captain Thomas Townsend Hewlett (1793-1878) and his wife, Ann Horsfield Sloan (1795-1870); to their daughters, Mary E. Hewlett (1827-1916) and Eliza Winslow Hewlett (1834-1912) until about 1906; a wedding gift to Reverend Canon Mansel Shewen (1876-1951) and his wife , Edith Olivia Bishop; given to Ada Ruth Flemming Thompson (born 1906); to her daughter, Angela Thompson Huntjens and her husband, Dr. Johannes Huntjens.



Unlocking Mysteries at the New Brunswick Museum: The Mystery of the Dentist’s Bag

Within the New Brunswick Museum’s collections is a dentist bag found in Nanaimo, British Columbia. The dentist’s bag came into the Nanaimo Community Hospice Shoppe in British Columbia. Inside was a copy of a wedding announcement from parents Dr. and Mrs. John T. Hazelwood of their daughter Effie Lucretia Hazelwood’s marriage to John Allen Clowes in October, 1913 in Saint John West, New Brunswick. The New Brunswick Museum was subsequently notified of this by shop manager Daphne Catteson.

Dentist's bag for blog


dentist’s bag, c. 1890
leather with metal
overall: 36 x 44 x 21 cm
Gift of the Nanaimo Community Hospice Society, 2015
NBM 2015.20



How did this dentist’s bag from New Brunswick end up in a shop in British Columbia?

Research by the NBM revealed that John T. Hazelwood was first listed as a dentist in the 1891-92 Saint John City Directory and that previous to this he had been a druggist in the city from 1881 to 1890. According to the New Brunswick Dental Association, John T. Hazelwood was licensed by an Order by the Governor in Council in 1893 but his practice was restricted to certain procedures. His pharmaceutical work may have assisted his entry into the profession. While there was an Ontario Dental Association from 1867 and The Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario the next year, the Canadian Dental Association was only founded in 1902. Hazelwood obviously practiced without a degree and learned on the job within his restricted duties. He did not advertise himself as a doctor in the Saint John City Directory. This is an important reminder of a developing profession.

It was further discovered that Effie Hazelwood and John Clowes subsequently moved to British Columbia and the bag must have travelled with them. Dr. John Hazelwood is listed as a dentist in 1915 but not 1919; he passed away in 1926. The move of the bag to British Columbia would likely postdate his death and perhaps that of his wife Annie Garrison Rouse (d. 1943). John Clowes died in Comox, B.C. in 1945 and Effie Hazelwood in New Westminster in 1969. It’s likely the bag descended to Effie and thereafter to one of their children or a relative and eventually made its way to the Hospice Shoppe.

tag for blog 1


A typed note that was found in the bag probably from the last descendent.

tag for blog 2

Tag that was on the handle of the bag regarding its lock.

wedding invite for blog




A copy of the wedding announcement found inside the dentist’s bag




Hazelwwod with dog for blog






Dr. John T. Hazelwood with top hat and his dog, about 1900

parlour for blog
Dr. John T. Hazelwood performing hypnotism on a volunteer in a parlour setting about 1900.

From Shetland to the Miramichi – Uncovering a Bedcover’s Heritage

Dr. Carol Christiansen, Curator and Community Museums Officer at the Shetland Museum and Archives, in her latest book, Taatit Rugs: the Pile Bedcovers of Shetland (published in 2015 by Shetland Amenity Trust – ISBN 978-0-9932740-4-6) features an unusual New Brunswick Museum (NBM) artifact – an embroidered counterpane (or bed rugg). Originally donated as a floor covering by Margaret Keay and Janet Keay in 1961, its real function as a bedcovering was explained in the early 1970s when it was included in an exhibition on American bed ruggs at the Wadsworth Athaneum in Hartford, Connecticut. It was also featured on a Canada Post stamp in 1993.

Taatit rugs
Dr. Carol Christiansen. (2015). Taatit Rugs: the Pile Bedcovers of Shetland. Shetland: Shetland Heritage Publications.

The counterpane’s unusual production method – a double-looped embroidery with a short pile rather than the more common hooking – makes it a unique survivor among the New Brunswick Museum’s extensive bedding collection. Dr. Christiansen’s research on the “heavy woollen woven bedcover (rug) to which threads (taats) have been applied” led her to this wonderful early example.  Her interest has greatly expanded our understanding of the complex histories associated with heritage objects and has provided a revealing glimpse of Scottish immigration to the province.

At the time of the counterpane’s donation to the NBM, it was said to have been used by a Hutchison family of the Miramichi region of New Brunswick.  Further inquiry revealed that the great-aunt of the donors was Elizabeth Stuart (Stewart) Mackie (c. 1817-1867) who married Richard Hutchison (1812-1891) of Douglastown, New Brunswick, on 20 March 1843.  Richard Hutchison was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and immigrated to New Brunswick in 1826.  Elizabeth Stuart Mackie is said to have been born in Aberdeen, Scotland – her father was Alexander Mackie (c. 1781-1858) a native of Leith who had lived in Aberdeen and his wife, Elizabeth Stuart (Stewart) (c. 1782-1854).  The 1851 census indicates that they had immigrated to New Brunswick in 1832. Though not conclusive, this certainly gives our bedcovering a very strong likelihood of originating in Scotland and it significantly enhances the New Brunswick Museum’s ability to represent and discuss aspects of cultural transfer in the mid-19th century in the province.


Maker Unknown (probably Scottish ?)
Counterpane (taatit rug or bed rugg), 1800-1850
Embroidered wool on tabby weave wool
221 x 157.5 cm
Provenance:  Used by the Hutchison family of Douglastown, New Brunswick [Probable line of family descent: Richard Hutchison (1812-1891) and Elizabeth Stuart Mackie Hutchison (c. 1817-1867); to her sister, Alexina Stuart Mackie Keay (1831-1909) and her husband, Reverend Peter Keay (1826-1873); to their son, Richard Hutchison Keay (1864-1944) and his wife, Ada Margaret Fraser Keay (1871-1957); to their daughters, Alexina Margaret Keay (1904-1987) and Janet Elder Keay (1913-2000)]
Gift of Margaret Keay and Janet Keay, 1961 (1961.42)
Collection of the New Brunswick Museum

Peter Larocque, Curator of New Brunswick Cultural History and Art, New Brunswick Museum



New Brunswick Museum’s Spirit of the Season

New Brunswick has holiday traditions that have long been celebrated and handed down from generation to generation. Drawing on the collections of the New Brunswick Museum Archives and Research Library, here are several enchanting holiday memories of yesterday. 

Included in the NBM Archives and Research Library holdings are a variety of beautiful historic photographs and published and unpublished items from holidays past, each containing an aspect of the New Brunswick story. These stories include a range of Acadian, Scottish, English, Irish and other traditions from yesteryear.

“A Visit from St. Nicholas” – in the New Brunswick Museum Archives

This poem, written by Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863), also entitled “Twas the Night before Christmas” is familiar to many………but did you know that there is a New Brunswick connection?

At the NBM Archives, in the Odell family papers, there is a handwritten version of “A visit from St. Nicholas”. It was written in 1825, and very likely the handwriting is that of Jonathan Odell’s daughter Maryl. The Odell family were Loyalists who came to New Brunswick from New York in 1784 and the Moore and Odell families were friends in pre-revolutionary times. Jonathan Odell was the first Provincial Secretary of New Brunswick and was Clement Moore’s godfather. The families continued to correspond in the decades after the Odells left New York.

Clement Clarke Moore was proficient in languages and music and graduated from Columbia College in 1798. He became a professor at the General Theological Seminary, of the Protestant Episcopal Church in New York City and continued to serve as professor of Oriental and Greek literature until his resignation in 1850. He had also studied Hebrew, and in 1809, he published “A Compendious Lexicon of the Hebrew language” in 2 volumes.

The original poem “A visit from St. Nicholas” was written by Clement Clarke Moore in 1822, as a Christmas gift for his children; it was said to have been transcribed by a guest of the household and given by her to the press in Troy, N.Y and  was published anonymously in the Troy Sentinel,  Dec. 23, 1823. Since it was not a scholarly publication, as other material written by Moore, he was not anxious to acknowledge it publicly. However, in 1844 it was included in a collection of his poetry.

The NBM Archival collections include this and other correspondence between Clement Clarke Moore and the Odell family.

Odell-F15-5 pg1Excerpt: Poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement C. Moore handwritten by Mary Odell, ca. 1825. Odell Family fonds F15-5

The collections that help discover the spirit of the season in New Brunswick also include greeting cards, postcards, letters, songs and poetry, expressing seasonal greetings and sentiments; historical photographs; ads for outdoor activities such as skating and sleighing; menus from hotels and other establishments holding seasonal dinners with menu items such as: reform sauce, corned tongue, Kummel Eckau ice cream, picalli, nesselrode, crapaudine and Victoria sauce; and examples of what local businesses and merchants were selling for the holiday season.

Listed below are a glimpse of collections portraying some holiday traditions in New Brunswick.

Interior View of Victoria Skating Rink, Saint John, New Brunswick
c. 1870

Valentine & Sons Publishing Company Limited
The Christmas Market, Fredericton, New Brunswick
c. 1910
Dr. William Francis Ganong Collection

Nurses, Student Nurses and Children enjoying Christmas Festivities, Saint John General Hospital, Saint John, New Brunswick
c. 1950
Nurses Association of New Brunswick fonds

Louis Merritt Harrison
Nursing Singing Christmas Carols, Saint John General Hospital, Saint John, New Brunswick
Miss Louise Peters, Associate Director of Nursing Service in centre
c. 1955
Nurses Association of New Brunswick fonds

New year's card 1Printed Eph-F101-3
A sample of the collection of seasonal greeting cards at the NBM Archives

Printed Eph-F76-8
1900 menu card of the Royal Hotel, Saint John, N.B.

First Load of Christmas Trees out of Fredericton, New Brunswick being shipped to Boston, Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) No. 71
Merryweather, Fireman and Robert Donaldson, Engineer
11 December 1905
George L. Brown Collection, gift of Charles A. Brown,1967

Within the NBM Archives, in the Saint John Jewish Museum archival collections, there is also material relating to the celebration of Chanukah, the festival of lights, by the Jewish community. In November, 2016, watch for a blog on Chanukah in New Brunswick.

The Clement Clarke Moore handwritten poem “A visit from St. Nicholas” will be on display, with several other seasonal pieces from the NBM Archives, at the NBM Exhibition Centre, from Tuesday, 15 December 2015 to Sunday 3 January 2016.