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Fifty years later: The Acadian Museum of Prince Edward Island remains vital for Acadian Islanders

Nick Arsenault,
journalist with La Voix acadienne


When a dream is accompanied by a fervent commitment, great things can happen. And when an energetic and passionate individual shares this dream, nothing can stand in the way.

On January 26, 1964, under the forward-thinking vision of Sister Antoinette DesRoches, the Acadians of Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) founded the Association du Musée acadien de l’Î.-P.-É. (the P.E.I. Acadian Museum Association) to undertake the construction of an Acadian museum in Miscouche a few months later.

This bold decision was officially made by Dr. J. Aubin Doiron, the Association’s first chairperson. The idea of creating an Acadian museum had existed since 1955, but no one had acted on it. In the middle of the 20th century, Acadians throughout the province were losing the French language faster than at any other time since their arrival in North America.

Building the Acadian Museum of Prince Edward Island was one of the most significant measures taken to counteract the anglicization of the Acadians. Today, the Acadian Museum ensures that the Acadian heritage—past, present and future—will continue to endure. On January 26, 2014, exactly 50 years after the Association’s first official meeting, the Acadians of Prince Edward Island turned out in great numbers to launch a year of celebration, appreciation and dedication for this museum. They are very proud of their Acadian Museum, which continues to shine a spotlight on Acadian heritage on the Island. The Chair made a special point of greeting all those in the room who were present during the opening of the Acadian Museum in 1964. There were at least a dozen people, including Sonny Gallant, Member of the Legislative Assembly.

Thanks to the tireless effort of dedicated people, the Acadian Museum is one of the most important Acadian institutions on the Island. It is visited by thousands of people from the Island and elsewhere. It is also thanks to the Museum that we can thrive in our beautiful Acadian language and culture.

A new exhibit entitled The Acadian Museum of Prince Edward Island, 1964 – 2014: Guardian of Acadian Heritage for 50 Years was put on display to mark the Museum’s 50 years of existence.

[Excerpted in part from La Voix acadienne weekly newspaper]