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About the Ross-Thomson Renewal Project

The Ross-Thomson House & Store has been part of the Nova Scotia Museum family since 1974, staged as a home and store from the loyalist period (roughly 1785-1820). 

The building was built by Scottish merchants Robert and George Ross in 1785. Around 1787, the brothers added an extension to the back of the store that served as a private dwelling. 

The abandoned building was purchased by Kenneth G. T. Webster in 1932 and has been operated as a museum by the Shelburne Historical Society since 1949.


The stories of the Ross brothers and Thomson family have been told at the Ross-Thomson House & Store Museum (RTH) for almost 50 years. These stories have left something out- the experiences of enslaved and indentured people who did not come to Shelburne by choice, but were brought by loyalist settlers. 

One of these people was a woman named Catherine Edwards. She escaped from bondage in the Ross household and established her right to freedom in court, setting a precedent that helped end the practice of enslavement in Nova Scotia.

The Ross brothers were not only enslavers, but also slave catchers and merchants of goods produced by enslaved people. 

None of these facts are currently presented at RTH, and they’re not alone. We’ve learned a lot about colonial life in Shelburne since RTH opened in the '70s! The Shelburne Historical Society is committed to restoring these lost Shelburne stories through a complete renewal of the interpretation at RTH.

What are we up to?

In Summer 2023, we collected feedback from people like you about the changes you want to see at the museum. We also started consulting with experts and our partners at nearby institutions. 

These suggestions will inform our Renewal Plan, which will be published here when it is available. 

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