Lower Gallery

Modern Times: From Factories to Offices

Having already discovered water power and steam power, in this gallery the story resumes with the importance of electric power, to factories, to businesses, to communities adopting street lighting and streetcars, and in the home, where it forever changed housework and leisure.

Industries depicted in these exhibits represent the successes and failures that marked a period of adjustment in Nova Scotia as the promise of the earlier expansion of industry could not be sustained. This decline was temporarily suspended by the world wars. Our exhibits highlight the work of women on the home front, which dramatically changed as they operated the lathes and presses while the men were away. After World War II, Nova Scotia continued to encourage manufacturing with government incentives and other measures. A shining star you will see is our Volvo Canadian, a 1963 class B sedan, the first off the assembly line at Volvo’s Dartmouth plant.

In Nova Scotia, as elsewhere, the continued decline of manufacturing and resource industries was offset to some extent with the rise of service industries, filling the needs of the new consumer class. Our exhibits explore the examples of office work, hair-dressing and tourism. The gallery ends with a brief look at our knowledge-based industries that continue to evolve and grow right up to today.

As you leave this area, straight ahead are the stairs and elevator to the mezzanine level, where you can find an in-depth look at the history of coal mining in Pictou County (where the Museum of Industry is located). Enroute you can stop on the landing to view more of our collection in Visible Storage.