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“Enthusiastic staff make the visit” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sydney Mines Heritage Museum and Fossil Centre

Sydney Mines Heritage Museum and Fossil Centre
159 Legatto Street, Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia B1V 5S6 , Canada
902-544-0992
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Ottawa, Canada
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Enthusiastic staff make the visit”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2012

The Cape Breton Fossil Centre is a small museum exploring the natural history of the coalfields that were for many years the lifeblood of Cape Breton's economy. Coal and fossils go together.

The centre, located near the former railroad station in Sydney Mines, is staffed by a curator and summer student employees. The student employees are well-trained and bilingual, but on our tour we were lucky enough to have our student pulled away to serve a French couple. Our replacement was Dr. Stuart Critchley, curator, whose enthusiasm and passion for the field of fossils is impossible to ignore. He was able to interest even the two pre-teens in our group in the exhibits and communicate the story of fossils in this area with humour and zest. Many exhibits, some dinosaur mockups, and a hands-on, relaxed atmosphere make this a great family visit for tourists and an underappreciated asset for locals.

Visited July 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
James T, Manager at Sydney Mines Heritage Museum and Fossil Centre, responded to this review, September 7, 2012
Mr. Jim Tobin, Chair, and I thank you very much for your kind words and support.
We hope to see you again in the near future.

Stuart Critchley
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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10 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Neptune, New Jersey
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Fossil lover's small gem”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2012

I have loved fossils since I was a child and try to see them whenever I can. The collection at this small but loving museum is made up of specimens of early plant life found in Cape Breton around the ancient coal seams that make up part of the island. We were shown around the displays by enthusiastic college students who clearly love the fossils and were very well-informed about them. A tour of the entire museum is only about half an hour. (Next door is a lovely, equally small, heritage museum about the history of Sydney Mines, also quite worthwhile and included in the admission price.) But we were also lucky enough to get the opportunity to go with the museum curator, Dr. Stewart Critchley, on a fossil hunt, and that was amazing! We spent several hours at a rocky shoreline and he showed us how fossils of plant life are everywhere in the layers of sedimentary rock. We found some nice specimens. He truly loves finding fossils and sharing his love of the subject with others. We were told that, during the summer months, he will take people on fossil tours several times a week if there are requests to do so. If you are planning a visit to the area, call ahead and ask if you can join him. This was an experience we won't forget.

Visited August 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
James T, Manager at Sydney Mines Heritage Museum and Fossil Centre, responded to this review, September 7, 2012
Mr. Jim Tobin, Chair, and I thank you very much for your kind words and support.
We hope to see you again in the near future.

Stuart Critchley
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Breton
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Don't m iss this”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2012

Excellent, and Stewart Critchley is great with kids and very knowledgeable.

Visited June 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
James T, Manager at Sydney Mines Heritage Museum and Fossil Centre, responded to this review, September 7, 2012
Mr. Jim Tobin chairperson and I would like to thank you for your kind words and support.
We hope to see you in the future.

Stuart Critchley
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southampton, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Great Little Museum”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2012

It's a bit un-nerving being escorted around, but being such a small museum with so much available to handle. I don't see what else they can do. Staff are knowlegable and friendly. There are lots of local fossils to look at and handle, and in the other museum the collection of pottery made by ex-miners is striking.

The admission fee is very modest and includes FREE leaflets, poster and FOSSIL.

I suggest to the museum organisers that they leave the giving of the freebies until the very end of the trip, Then the customer is in the right place to be tempted to partake of refreshments in the cafe.

Visited June 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
James T, Manager at Sydney Mines Heritage Museum and Fossil Centre, responded to this review, September 7, 2012
Mr. Jim Tobin, Chairperson, and I would like to thank you for your kind words and support.
We certainly hope to see you again in the near future.

Stuart Critchley
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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