The Lawrence House Museum in Maitland. (Tourism N.S. photo)

MAITLAND: The Lawrence House Museum in Maitland will be closed this summer tourist season, and there’s no word on when and if it will re-open.

Residents have voiced concern with its closure on a Maitland and area Facebook group page and have even written to Museum Nova Scotia expressing those concerns.

Resident Janice Lockyer wrote to Museum N.S. In their reply they said that a number of factors are contributing to the temporary closure.

“The decision to close the site for this season is the result of a number of factors, including recruitment challenges and low visitation at the site,” the email from Laura Bennett at Museum Nova Scotia said.

“For a number of years we have heard from community members concerned about the museum.

“In light of these factors, we have decided to take this season to review museum operations, speak with community members, and determine a path forward for Lawrence House.”


Susan Mader-Zinck, spokeswoman with the Department of Communities, Culture, Tourism and Heritage, confirmed most of what Bennett said in the email to Lockyer.

“The Department of Communities, Culture, Tourism and Heritage has decided to close Lawrence House Museum for the 2024 season to allow staff time to engage with the community about next steps for how the site will be operated in the future,” she said.

Mader-Zinck indicated some reasons for the temporary closure.

“Low staff numbers have required some museum closures in the past and have limited programming at the site,” she said. “Staff will continue to carry out maintenance and upkeep at the museum site.

“Information has been posted on the museum website about the closure, and staff will be communicating with community members and groups.”

The Laker News asked about concerns some residents have the temporary closure will become permanent. That question was not answered.


In the email, Bennett said there have been a number of things they need to work out behind the scenes, but once that is completed, they will be reaching out to start community engagement sessions and learn more about what the community vision is for the museum.

“We look forward to these discussions, and the opportunity to plan for the future of the museum,” added in the email reply.

Mader-Zinck said that the department is aware that the community is planning celebrations this year for the 150th anniversary of the launch of the WD Lawrence.

The W.D. Lawrence is the largest wooden-hulled, fully rigged ship ever built in Canada.

“Staff will work with community partners who are interested in including the museum site in the celebration events,” she said.