Guest Post: The White Elephant Museum (Makkovik)

Since many of our blog readers are interested in other organizations in Labrador that share some of Them Days’ goals and purpose, I’ve asked some people at these institutions to write guest blog posts. Today’s guest post is from Joan Andersen of the White Elephant Museum in Makkovik. I think that the idea Joan talks about below is super cool–I love putting the talents of summer students to good use! Thanks, Joan, for this wonderful insight into your museum! (And way to go, Jessica, for your awesome work!)

The White Elephant Museum is a heritage structure in Makkovik, part of the Moravian Mission property. It was built in 1915 as a boarding school. The school soon outgrew the little building, and was moved to the huge mission house. Then the little house had to be maintained but had no real purpose, hence the name White Elephant! It has most often been used as a residence, until 1996 when the Moravian Centennial committee in Makkovik decided to turn it into a museum. It is a seasonal operation, open in summer time. But tours are available upon request. This summer we hired Jessica Winters as our tour guide/museum worker. Jessica enjoys painting, so we asked her to begin what we called a Museum Showcase. She paints a picture and we post it in a public place. It not only showcases something of interest to the public, it also shares Jessica’s talent.

Jessica’s paintings on display

The first shows a flower, which I saw in Happy Valley as well. It looks like a tiny white flower, but when you pick it and take a closer look, it has all this color!! The common eyebright is the name of it.

Jessica’s painting of the Common Eyebright


The second painting is a rendition of a photo found in the book “The Seafaring Jacksons” by Charles Uglow. Captain Jackson was at the helm of the Moravian Mission ship ‘Harmony’. Jessica painted a picture of Miriam Rowe, from Bedford, England. She was a teacher who came out on the Harmony in 1923 and taught in Makkovik. Aunt Inga Andersen (1913-2010) and Andrea Andersen (1912-1986) took music (organ) lessons from her. Amongst the collection of post cards at the museum are a few written by Miriam Rowe to Andrea in 1925 and 1926.

Jessica’s painting of Miriam Rowe on the Harmony


Here is the third painting done by Jessica Winters, our summer student. She finishes up today, and start her final year of high school in September. This is a picture of Bill Edmunds… her rendition of a photo found in the ITK magazine. She is working on another painting now, Ellen (Andersen) and Abe Morgan.

Jessica’s painting of Bill Edmunds

-Joan Andersen

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