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N.S. to build Ross Farm learning centre

The Nova Scotia government plans to match federal funding for a new learning centre at the province’s landmark Ross Farm.

The province on Saturday pledged $1 million from its Tangible Capital Asset Program for Ross Farm Museum, on top of $1 million announced in March last year from the federal Innovative Communities Fund.

"Supporting the learning centre project means that Ross Farm Museum will be able to offer enhanced interpretive programs and educational experiences for visitors and members of the community," provincial Community Services Minister Denise Peterson-Rafuse said in a release.

The first phase of the project is to be a topographic survey, ahead of construction work starting in the spring, to be managed by the provincial transportation and infrastructure renewal department.

The New Ross District Museum Society will put up $235,000 for the $2.35 million project, while the District of Chester will contribute $100,000.

Ross Farm Museum, about 40 km south of Kentville, is billed as "a living, working farm museum depicting 150 years of agriculture in Nova Scotia," operated by a farm family and worked with oxen shod on site.

Based around Rosebank Cottage, the original Ross family home built in 1817, the site includes a working blacksmith shop, barn, stave mill, cooperage and workshop as well as a farmers’ market with local vendors. The facility also provides a shoeing service for oxen owners.

The site was transferred to provincial ownership in 1970 by the widow of Mark White, a descendant of the farm’s founder, Capt. William Ross.

The learning centre will allow the museum to offer our visitors "a unique experience through what will become a new centre of excellence for heritage," society president Valerie White said.

The farm is open daily from May 1 to Oct. 31 and also runs a winter program of activities including a "Christmas in the Country" festival.

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