The Ross Museum tells a tale of love and world travels

Saint Andrews – After a long couple of months, things are starting to get back to normal around the province. Most businesses that had to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic are re-opening, including museums and galleries. This includes the Ross Memorial Museum in Saint Andrews.

The Ross Memorial Museum is located, built in 1824 and originally named Chestnut Hall (which it is still known as today), is one of many historically significant buildings in Saint Andrews. Once the home of Loyalist Harris Hatch, the building was purchased by an American couple, Henry Phipps Ross and Sarah Juliette Ross, who came to Saint Andrews for a picnic, fell in love with the area, and made it their permanent home for several years, even choosing to be buried there. World travelers and avid collectors, the Ross’ purchased Chestnut Hall to house their collection of furniture and artwork.

Senior Guide/Overseer Kerri Chrus said they are “ready to show off what we have going on”. Of course, they are making sure that they are following social distancing recommendations and taking other precautions. Unfortunately, they are not able to have any of their valued volunteers in the building this season, but they can help from their various locations, and their ideas as always will be greatly appreciated.

“We have barriers already up in the rooms, and wide hallways,” said Chrus. “We’re closing off one narrow staircase. There’s still access to exhibits and viewing every room with signage that’s already there. We’ll have the arrows on the carpet, and all the signage will be there. There’s also the sanitization station.”

Chrus said in addition to putting red arrows on the floor, they are doing something else with a red arrow, just to have a bit of fun. This will be a red arrow that will lead visitors to a “love story and world travels from Henry and Juliet Ross”.

“What I’m doing right now is putting a big red arrow over the door. Find the red arrow and it will point your way to a. I think we’re all following so many arrows, but this is a good one.”

Chrus spoke about another exhibit housed in the museum, which features former local artist Edward Bannister. She said what is really interesting about Bannister is the fact that he was a black man who’s artwork an international success, at a time when there weren’t many famous black people. Prior to moving to Boston, Bannister was sponsored by Harris Hatch. He even has a modern day connection to the White House.

“Edward Bannister became a successful artist in an era when blacks weren’t even recognized. President Obama had two of his paintings which he personally bought. So there’s a connection to the president. He’s an admired artist that was successful,” said Chrus.

Much of the collection at the Ross Memorial Museum includes items from the Ross’ world travels, as well as New Brunswick furniture and other interesting items. Chrus said the Ross’ were also the sponsors of the Ross Memorial Library, which is located next door to the museum.

“They loved it here, and they left the Town of Saint Andrews their museum and their collection.”

sarigreen@stcroixcourier.ca