Although many people are aware that Saint John, N.B. is Canada’s oldest incorporated city, few are aware that it houses Canada’s oldest continuing museum. The New Brunswick Museum was officially incorporated as the "Provincial Museum" in 1929 and received its current name in 1930, but its history goes back much further. Its lineage can be traced back another eighty-seven years to 1842 and to the original genius of one exceptional person, Dr.Abraham Gesner.

Abraham Gesner was born in Cornwallis, N.S., in 1797. His childhood fascination with scientific experiments led him to study in London, England where he became a physician. After only a few years of practice in Nova Scotia, Gesner moved to New Brunswick, in 1837, to become a full-time geologist. In 1838, he became New Brunswick’s Provincial Geologist- the first such appointment in Canada. This position lasted until 1842, when Gesner turned to making a living by displaying his collection of rocks, minerals and "curiosities" to the public.

On April 5, 1842, Dr. Abraham Gesner opened the Museum of Natural History, the original precursor of the New Brunswick Museum, in one room of the Mechanics’ Institute on Carleton St., Saint John, N.B. Unfortunately, income from his newly-founded museum was not enough to solve Gesner’s financial problems. In 1843, Gesner’s collection passed on to his creditors who, in turn, donated it to the Saint John Mechanics’ Institute
Canadian Heritage Information Network
New Brunswick Museum

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