The Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre (BCM&CC) is pleased to announce that they have received a large donation from the family of Arthur Amos. This is the first donation received by the BCM&CC’s new Marine History and Underwater Archaeology Research Centre and is a significant donation of documents related to the marine heritage of Bruce County and Ontario.
Arthur Amos (1934-2020) was a long-time resident of Tobermory and spent nearly 50 years researching and conducting field work on shipwrecks in Bruce County, the Great Lakes, and beyond. Amos was also the owner of the Trails End Lodge, an avocational marine archaeologist, a historian, and a founding member of the Ontario Marine Heritage Committee (OMHC).
“The thousands of shipwrecks in Ontario all have interesting stories to tell about the people who built and sailed on them, their transportation of goods and passengers, navigational and environmental challenges, and their demise and eventual underwater discovery and identification,” says BCM&CC Archivist Deb Sturdevant. “The Arthur Amos Shipwreck Research Collection contains information about the experiences of some of these ships and will be available to anyone interested in Ontario’s marine history, including historians, authors, archaeologists, genealogists, educators and students.”
The donated collection includes drawings, maps and nautical charts, news clippings, newsletters, photographs, statements of wrecks and casualties, and research files related to various geographical areas, shipwrecks, patents, and shipbuilding. This includes the research and booklet Amos produced on Rudders, one of the few specific shipwreck details that has been subject to studies in Ontario. The published books in the collection cover a wide variety of topics, including: general marine history, lake vessel registers, shipbuilding and identification, patents, seamanship and terminology, and cultural resource studies.
An inventory of items is available to download and view in BCM&CC’s Online Collections: Arthur Amos Shipwreck Collection Inventory.
One of the ships explored in the collection is the “Marion L. Breck” an 1863-built schooner that was wrecked on Bears Rump Island in October 1900 while traveling from Owen Sound to Blind River with a cargo load of bricks. The crew was rescued near Flowerpot Island by Lightkeeper Dan Smith and his sons. The ship has connections across Ontario: it was built near Kingston; was laid up at Nipigon, Lake Superior in 1885 and that winter served as a barrack ship for soldiers being sent west for the Riel Rebellion; suffered a fire at Port Dalhousie; was owned by J. McGibbon of Sarnia; and was lost in Georgian Bay at Bears Rump Island.
The BCM&CC is open Monday to Saturday from 10 AM to 12 PM and 1 PM to 4:30 PM. The Archives & Research Room is open Monday to Saturday from 10 AM – 12 PM and 1:30 PM – 4 PM.