St. Peter’s has a very rich and interesting historical past, and one of our St. Peter’s citizens got to share the knowledge of this history with visitors to the area this past summer.
Maggie Katrichak-Fraser is the curator of the Nicolas Denys Museum in St. Peter’s and during the 2016 season she captivated museum guests with stories of Nicolas Denys and his settlement of 1650. One of the facts that Fraser found so interesting was that visitors were amazed with the fact that Saint Pierre, as we would have been known back in that time period, was founded approximately 60 years before the Fortress of Louisbourg, and that there had actually been a Portuguese fishing community established here in the 1500’s, at which time the area would have been known as San Pedro.
Of course her stories of our history not only dates back to our explorers, but also included topics of our history from the post-explorer time to current days. With many displays made up of items donated by former residents of St. Peter’s. Fraser displays her knowledge on many of the pieces of artifacts on display, from the human skin covered book, believed to have dated back to the Portuguese settlement, to items of ceramics and tools, from the archaeological excavation from the ruins of Fort Toulouse (1713 to 1758 time period), located East of the St. Peter’s Canal, in what is now Battery Park, to more recent items such as store ledgers from St. Peter’s general stores and a switchboard from the early years of the rural telephone office. One of the items that especially catches the eyes of female visitors, Fraser mentions is the Murphy Bed, which after so many years is still a beautiful piece of functional art.
Fraser took on the job of curator of the museum mid-summer, and shared with me that she really enjoyed her time there. She met people from France, Germany and other locations across Europe, the US and Canada. One of the highlights of her first season was meeting the 6 generation descendent of our founding father, Nicolas Denys. Catherine Baflast, from Paris, France, came to visit a part of her roots with a visit to the replica of Nicolas’s Trading Post and brought with her information stories about Denys time in North America which she felt would be informative to the museum.
Fraser, who is originally from Western Canada, said working at the museum was a great way for her to learn about the history of the area. I am very happy to hear that Fraser has agreed to take on the position of Museum Curator for next year. She is truly a valued addition to the community and to the tourism industry in Richmond.