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Remarkable Jake de Vries collection may make its way to Ameliasburgh museum

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A large and varied natural history taxidermy collection may make its way to the Ameliasburgh Heritage Village as part of the museum’s permanent collection.

Jake-de-Vries-collection-3Andy Margetson is to make a presentation to council’s committee of the whole meeting Thurday to discuss the transfer of nearly 500 mounts, and redevelopment of a building at the museum site, to house the Jake de Vries taxidermy collection. The “Green Barn” on location at the heritage village has been identified as a potential home, but requires significant structural upgrades.

The collection, crafted by de Vries over more than 50 years, ranges from waterflow to song birds, mammals to reptiles and fish. The Jake de Vries Collection Group has committed to fundraising the capital for the project – estimated at $253,000, which includes a reserve of $85,000 to assist with future maintenance of the Green Barn. It is proposed the Ameliasburgh Heritage Village contribute the cost of exhibit cases and materials estimated at $22,000.

Johanna de Vries, John de Vries and Jane Moon inherited the collection of their husband and father. Along with friends and associates they formed the Jake de Vries Collection Group to plan for the collection’s long-term future.

Jake-de-Vries-collection-5 “The collection tells incredible stories about our natural world, its biodiversity, both the carelessness and conservation efforts of humankind and last, but not least, the craftsmanship of Jake de Vries and his lifelong passion for preserving natural heritage for both public education and aesthetic appreciation,” said Jennifer Lyons, head curator for the Museums of Prince Edward County. “Creating a permanent home and exhibition for this impressive collection will ensure an unparalleled educational resource will remain in Prince Edward County for generations to come.”

She noted the collection also tells a compelling tale about a post Second World War immigrant finding a new life in Prince Edward County and giving back to the community through his unique hobby, decades in its practice.

The report to council includes comments from Mark Peck, ornithologist with the Royal Ontario Museum, following a visit with John de Vries to see the collection.

He called it a remarkable collection in general with a few specimens he had never before seen in a private collection. He also noted present day taxidermy costs ranging from $200 to $1,000 for a large bird. He also spoke to the importance of controlling lighting, colour fading, and humidity and shared information about techniques used at the ROM.

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  1. Craig says:

    Great idea! I hope to see this happen

  2. Vic says:

    Jake’s collection is a marvellous thing to see! Well worth preserving!

  3. Hildagard says:

    Maybe the Stark Family Grants or the Parrot Foundation could help in this endeavour. This is a significant part of our County history that should be preserved and kept in the County.
    Fund raising for everything else under the sun–why not for this interesting collection!

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