News & Updates

April Rug Yarns Newsletter Posted on our Website


Update re Federal and Provincial governments joint funding application

 Thought you might be interested in knowing that a substantial package of pictures and support data  is being distributed to a team of provincial and federal government bureaucrats  who are currently working on our behalf on a concept plan  for the Hooked Rug Museum project at both government  levels.

An accompanying cover   letter helps identify from an economic viewpoint that the Museum Society has advanced far beyond its mandate in preserving an endangered heritage .

 It identifies how a cottage industry job creation  program Suzanne launched seven years ago and spinoff tourism economic impact this project has earned, now deserves  we hope , at least a degree of support from senior government levels.

The letter from our Founder pretty well sums up the current situation and the request to the two senior government levels is relatively modest in comparison to the massive undertaken we have advanced to near opening status.

 Our lead bureaucrat is Rachel Browne, area account manager for ACOA in the south shore region. She is very helpful (and active on our behalf) It has become very apparent to us that unless we proceed solidly up the ladder of the government structures  with our compelling and pertinent message  that little or no serious help will be provided by them.

Our timeline is clearly established. Thanks to our selection of a very capable  general contractor it is now apparent we will be able to open the MUSEUM MARKET PLACE  on June 1 using most of our remaining reserve funds, combined with modest grants from the J.D. SHATFORD MEMORIALTRUST and the ASPOTOGAN Heritage Trust.  The offer of Cr. Lund  of the Muncipal government level to make available additional support to augment a potential  May/June grant from the HALIFAX REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY  will permit us to complete renovations on Stage One of the Museum exhibit and Archive’s/Library facility and advance a portion of the heating and ventilation system to operational stage.

This advance, encompassing about 40 percent of the building interior and  represents a $60,000 total expenditure plus in kind work by our own group which have been working quietly behind the scenes with yard sales, a lottery  and  parking lot rentals to create signage, an upgraded parking lot, and a commencement on site development (landscape clearance).

 How important is all of this? 

 1- On June 1 the Market Place will open. Our all volunteer Marketing committee worked for more than a year for this day-  to create a collection of unique heritage hooked rugs for sale,  organize consignment  of hooked materials from producers and search for unique approaches to achieve the first ‘SUSTAINABLE”  earned cash flow by the Museum itself.  Amazingly -this committee is opening the MARKET PLACE  without dependency on ANY stock purchases. All stock has been DONATED or CONSIGNED.

2- Even more amazing, – thanks to a  Nova Scotia Department of   Senior Citizens Aging Incentive’s grant they are offering for sale more than 50 beautiful hand-hooked NEW heritage replicas created from original 1892  rug  art discoveries in Nova Scotia.  ….and it doesn’t end there.  Fifty percent of funds realized  from  the sale of these replications will be placed in a reserve acquisition fund  which will permit 50 more rug hooking jobs to be assigned to rural based rug hookers. Most live BELOW the poverty line.

 3- On July 1-The completion of Stage One is  anticipated by July 1, and this will permit the Museum to open  its first major exhibit showing which will feature the Noah’s Ark exhibit, an amazing collection of some 120 hand-hooked animals displayed on a six foot long replica of the ARK which has been donated  to the Museum Society by the late Mary Sheppard Burton an icon of United states rug hooking and her colleague Leonard Feenan, as a major gift from the United States.. Again, a modest fee will be charged to viewers to help advance the project,  including development of a property landscaping plan which will over a period of years feature flower and shrub gardens created as replicas of heritage rug patterns.

4-On Aug 1- Active fund raising has been underway for the project under the capable direction of Vicki Calu, former president of the Pearl K.McGown Hookrafters Guild and  aimed at creation of a memorial Library and Archives in the Museum.  The basic structural component will be constructed at this point in time and Archivist Carole Fryday  HRMNA Society secretary) will be leading the assembly and indexing of the first international  rug hooking research centre in the world. BE PROUD!

5- By mid August- A gift of hooked rugs from the United States will have arrived from the Dudley, Mass. McGown  Teacher’s workshop as a fund raiser for the Museum project. A major boost to the MARKET PLACE which hopefully be running low on supplies after three months of sales. What an amazing HANDS ACROSS THE BORDER project is unfolding.



EXTRA:  Your Founder and I have just returned from a series of meetings in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia

including a meeting with our Director at Large Erin McKenna which could be of significant importance to HRMNA’S advancement. We hope to share complete details in the immediate future when we are assured they can proceed.

                           A preliminary meeting with officials of the New Brunswick Rug Registry also opens the door to a completely digitalized resource base  to which the Hooked Rug Museum international research base will be linked in the near future.

Digitallzation  of all resource materials is an obvious direction HRMNA must continue to pursue so that rug hookers, even at remote distances will be able to have  full access to our mushrooming data base. Remember HRMNA’s birth has been accelerated by internet access.

                         Enroute to these meetings in Sussex we have found and acquired another heritage Garrett pattern acquired by a New Brunswick antique dealer in Pictou, N.S. which also appears to be hemp hooked. Our Nova Scotia folk art specialist  Chris Huntington and his wife have  also come up with two great primitive hooked cow images which Suzanne has acquired for the collection she has committed to the Museum.

                          Finally, we have met with a talented Nova  Scotia painter/historian to explore with him the possibility of obtaining rights to use his dramatic and significant heritage form of  art work for both a Museum exhibition and potential rug pattern designs. He is receptive to our suggestion which fulfills our  long search for someone capable of producing this type of heritage work. We are jointly studying copyright and applicable related fees for such use and hope to have an agreement in place shortly.  Such meets our heritage preservation mandate and totally avoids competition with entrepreneurial designs. Besides all that his wife cooks a great lemon loaf!  Blessings to all.

                        Regards  Hugh C.


Chairman’s Update December 2009

On behalf of our Honorary Chair, Board of Directors, Directors at Large, Volunteers/ Co-ordinators/ Patrons and Consultants I offer our sincerest best wishes for this Holiday Season!

While economic conditions continue to test everyones stamina, it is truly gratifying to see our International museum come to fruition with the acquisition of our future home in Queensland, Nova Scotia.

This was a herculean task that simply would not have been achievable without the continued dedication of all our donors and volunteers throughout the United States and Canada – whose devotion, persistence and much needed financial support is ensuring that HRMNA continues to evolve into reality. Our Board is grateful to each and every one of you!

In comparative terms, the loyalty and moral stamina by which HRMNA continues to nourish evolution is perhaps parallel to the craft of Rug Hooking; in-and-of-itself derived from tough and challenging economic times. It is an understatement to suggest fostering the establishment of a museum (let alone one of international stature) requires dedicated resources this has hit home with the reality we must now:

  • Acquire necessary financial contributions to reinforce this process
  • Add personnel in support of our continued evolution (Board/ Directors at Large/ Volunteers)

We are coping with both prerequisites by instigating significantly more discipline; fully realizing the respective dire need – thus eager to strengthen our very modest infrastructure by adding personnel and a determined focus to enhancing financial strength such that we may continue to excel.

Above realities aside, while 2009 has been a tough and challenging year for every one surprisingly; despite all the financial strain and chaos; 2009 has been one of exceptional growth for the Hooked Rug Museum of North America (HRMNA).
I propose HRMNA is perhaps one of very few (if any) museums globally to achieve purchase of a new home under such trying circumstances.
Similarly, is our new web site!

Your contribution – whether in the form of comments/ hooked rug art work or – financially, are most welcome and while still in development, offer the initial site:

Recognizing our escalating, global reach – for such stellar growth and advancement, wherever you may reside in the world; we are truly and most sincerely grateful to all who have supported HRMNA. May 2010 allow us ALL – to continue to aspire to new levels of collaboration, with our museum and otherwise!

Tom Murdoch,
Chair, Hooked Rug Museum of North America

Major Accomplishment
Founding Director Suzanne Conrod  (right) celebrates acquisition of the first Hooked Rug Museum Museum,Gallery and Archival center  in the world on Sept 30th, 2009 with Tom Murdock, HRMNA Chair and Ian Grant Chief Financial officer,  following the transfer of title to the not for profit charitable society. The 2010 challenge, renovating the structure to open a market place and develop exhibits for the museum proper.

Your Hooked Rug Museum has a Home but it needs help to open its doors


You hold – the key to the door. Our priority -a capital fund of $500,000. We have- A million dollar debt free collection of artifacts and archives
An 8,750 square foot concrete block building Enthusiastic supporters in the United States and Canada Commitments for a significant archival research center Priority Need- Raising capital funds to achieve door opening status.

Our Plan – Subject to fund raising

  • a)  Open the market place 2010
  • b) Open the Museum/Galleries and archives in 2011

Rug Hooking Decendant of Germanic Immigration

The recent discovery of a set of six seat covers hooked in Germanic folk lore symbols from the Foreign Protestant immigration area of Lunenburg County set off an HRMNA search for their origins.

Pictured here, they were created by the late Marion G. Wile (1917-2008) of Pleasantville, Lunenburg County, N.S. a passionate rug hooker and needle work artist. Her daughter Stephanie of Waterloo shared with us a glimpse into samples of her amazing work including several stained glass widow replicas and a beautiful waterfront landscape.

The chair seat covers were the only Germanic symbols found despite the family heritage dating back to the 1500’s. They will be on display in the future Hooked Rug Museum.

Mi-Careme- The Mask Makers extraordinary!

Centre de la Mi-Careme was unveiled in St Joseph du Moine, Cape Breton in 2009 and the first major hooked masked making in the world went on display.

Located in the popular Cheticamp rug hooking region adjacent to the famous Cabot Trail, the Mi-Carme center dramatically celebrates the mid Lenten Festival long observed by the Acadian population of the region. Here you will find talented artists both hooking and fabricating paper mache masks used in the Mardi Gras type of celebrations which take place at the same time as their Acadian ( Cajun) cousins in far away New Orleans celebrate Mardi Gras. Hundreds of masks both made by the artists of the region and acquired from around the world provide a colorful tableau for the visitor.

Hands on creativity tempts personal involvement and the friendly descendants of the original French settlement of Nova Scotia enjoy chatting with visitors about their creativity. A flashback to the colorful festivities at the formal opening is included in the video on this page. Located at 12615 C abot Trail, La Centre de la Mi-Careme it is an exciting bonus to the world famous Les Trois Pignons exhibits of Elizabeth LeFort’s work in nearby Cheticamp itself.

HRMNA Founder Suzanne Conrod led a delegation to the Fall 2008 McGown annual hooked rug exhibition in Owego, New York at which time some of the hooked masks and other Cheicamp rug hooking was displayed at the U.S.A National show.

Priscilla Turner Rug Found

Most rug hookers have never heard of the Priscilla Turner Guild its existence is little known, like much of early rug hooking history. HRMNA has now completed a major study of this unique Guild and with considerable difficulty has acquired one of the original Turner rugs .

We conducted interviews with Leota Seward the last surviving Guild member who at 97 years of age had her picture taken with her 15 pound rug hook. If you would like to learn more about this Maine Guild check out our new the web site for more details around mid January when we will publish a special feature. The Priscilla Turner rug fronting our old cast iron hall stove was a landing mat for a stairway. We couldn’t afford to purchase the stair treads.

Winter in Quebec

The “habitant” hooked rug acquired for the Hooked Rug Museum collections (above) may be ragged and faded but its reverse side still exhibits the amazing beauty and skill of its unknown original Quebec creator.

Research has uncovered the names of many talented ,long gone rug makers ,  however the neglect suffered by our art for some three centuries has resulted in the sad statistic that the identity of about 90 percent of the creators of all heritage rugs must remain unknown.