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Social geography combines people and places. While immediate families may not eat dinner together as often these days, there is still a need to gather for birthdays, celebrations and important announcements. That power only increases amongst people of all ages as they explore the social geography beyond their doors and, in many cases, return to places grown familiar throughout their lives. Today, teens and shopping malls are synonymous but much of what motivated people to get together in the past is still in place now – theatres, parades, recreation, clubs, exhibitions, school and religious ceremony. Church attendance may be in decline but weddings, funerals and christenings remain important and strong functions.

This website looks at continuities and changes over time from the mid-nineteenth to the late twentieth century through a combination of photographs and documents from the collections of the New Brunswick Museum. Several themes are explored which are at once independent and interdependent with headings such as Community, Schools and Places of Worship. Exploring the Community gallery, we find a 19th century theatre waiting for an audience while a program details the fantastic characters in a play and a crowd is seated inside as the curtains rise. Next we view a picnic excursion and a campsite in the mid-1940s, so familiar and yet so strangely distant. The world is still at war but a nearby stream and fields of grass harbour such peace. Through the images and documents we see a province where the camera and the printing press influence and are influenced by the changing social geography encountered.


A sense of community can be captured through static views like the Opera Hall at Dalhousie N.B. but more often in activities.

societies & lodges

Groups with specific interests are the focus in this section. These can range from yacht clubs to the YMCA, the Boy Scouts and the Oddfellows.


Some exhibitions and fairs bring community together in celebration of accomplishment and acknowledgement of work well done.


The delivery of a quality education is one of modern society's ongoing aspirations.

special events

The prospect of a special event usually generates a sense of excitement. Preparations are sometimes undertaken at special venues, crowds gather and events unfold.

place of worship

Churches, church groups and cemeteries form a major element of Gatherings, reflecting the strong influence of organized religion in the province's history.


Families form the essential component of communities.


New Brunswick educators are pleased to share these learning resources created for the “Gatherings” virtual exhibition.

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Gatherings © 2009 New Brunswick Museum / Musée du Nouveau-Brunswick, 277 Douglas Ave., Saint John, N.B. E2K 1E5