Did you know the Pilley’s Island Heritage Centre is not one, but two buildings? The Centre includes an old schoolhouse that has been turned into a museum, and a church that is now over a century old.
Building #1: The Museum
The museum will be your first stop, and it is simply jam-packed! The large number of artifacts on display means you could easily return for additional visits and still not see everything there.
There are Pilley’s Island historical photos, and the household items that you would expect in any heritage house. But there is a range of vintage and historical items to suit any interest, no matter where you are from: tools, mining gear, cameras, record players and a lot more. There are many interesting finds in the Pilley’s Island Heritage Centre (too many to list here).
One highlight of any visit to this museum surely will be the collection of desks, books and other school items.
You should see it in person. If this collection doesn’t bring a flood of memories, it will at least amuse you. Adorable little vintage school desks like these are hard to come by these days, especially in the excellent condition that these are in. With a little stove in the mix, books on top of the desks and light streaming in the window, you could expect kids straight out of the 1950s to magically stream in and take their seats.
There is a wide variety of tools, some that would have no use at all in modern society. You’ll also find bucksaws, coins, jugs, jars, and medical equipment.
Be sure to budget yourself enough time to take it all in. You won’t want to rush your visit, as there is so much to see, and so many interesting pieces.
Pilley’s Island Heritage Centre,
At a Glance:
– 2 buildings: 1 museum (old school house), 1 church built in 1896
– Located on Harbour View Road in Pilley’s Island, NL (Route 380 )
– Admission: adult $2, youth $1, chilren under 12 free
– Seasonal passes: adult $5, youth $2.50
– Open from Mid June – Mid September (Mon-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 1pm-5pm)
– Varied displays: mining, carpentry, household, military, church, school and MUCH more
– Sitting and picnic areas on grounds, with broad view of the community of Pilley’s Island
– Wheelchair accessibility ramp to main building (on the far side of the building)
– Main entrance is the 2nd door from the parking area
– Interpretative signage on grounds
– Small memorial to soldiers behind museum
Building #2: The 100+ Year-Old Methodist-United Church
This community church was built when Victoria was Queen. Young men who headed off to WW1 must have sat in its pews. Their mothers sat in the same pews, hoping for the boys’ safe return. Miners walked through its doors. Schooners came and left in the bay nearby. Over 100 harsh winters swirled around this little church, and the marriages and christenings that happened inside it must be countless.
We don’t have a lot of old structures in Green Bay, which makes this church in Pilley’s Island, built in 1896, pretty special.
This Methodist-United Church was in operation right up until 1994. It is, sensibly, always locked and is opened for visitors by the museum worker or volunteer. It holds its original contents and has displays of historical photos, hymn books and more.
And its organ, still there, dates from 1905.
The pews are numbered as they originally were. The number plates are still there, visible under layers of paint.
It is impossible to walk through its doors and not think of the people who walked through in past years. You cannot touch a pew without thinking of the people who sat there generations ago.
The Pilley’s Island Heritage Centre is not just about the heritage of that one community. Those two buildings hold artifacts that by their existence link us to our past and tell stories of outport Newfoundland.