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Special Exhibit – The Acadian Exile in Massachusetts, 1755-1766

We have a special exhibit on the second floor, courtesy of The Secretary of the Commonwealth. It documents a terrible chapter in Canadian and New England history: the deportation of thousands of French speakers from eighteenth century Nova Scotia to Massachusetts and other English colonies, and later to France.

The English and French had been fighting over North American territory for nearly three centuries and these unlucky inhabitants were victims of an English victory. After a few difficult years in Massachusetts (Catholics were unwelcome) many of the deportees were finally able to leave this area and move to Quebec, Louisiana and other places. The plight of the Acadians was immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his 1847 poem, Evangeline, the story of two lovers separated in the great upheaval.

Books on French Canadian history and genealogy are available in the Reference Room along with the display.