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Kempffer Centre: Coming a Long Way in a Short Time

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larger_Kempffer.a.JPG--March 10, 2011.

The Kempffer Cultural and Heritage Centre in New Carlisle has come a long way since its inauguration just two short years ago, as anyone who has visited the Centre recently can attest.

larger_Kempffer.b.JPGThe Kempffer Centre is housed in the historic Kempffer House, with its distinctive mansard roof and central tower. The house, which dates to 1868, was meticulously restored over a period of four years, by Heritage New Carlisle, a not-for-profit group that acquired the building with the aim of bringing it back to life and promoting local history and culture.

By the look of the Kempffer Centre, that goal has been achieved. A professionally designed permanent historical exhibit, with a broad assortment of local artifacts, has been created on the Centre's second floor. Exhibits tell of pioneer life, the railroad, military history, tourism, and of New Carlisle's unique ethnic diversity.

Downstairs, a gift shop features an array of locally-produced artwork, crafts, souvenirs and other items. A tourist information kiosk provides documentation on the region's many other attractions. Every corner of this old house, in fact, is being put to good use. There is office space, a sitting room, a kitchen, and a genealogical research centre. Even the basement floor is being transformed into a lecture hall.

larger_Kempffer.c.JPGRun by a combination of volunteers and paid staff, the Kempffer Cultural and Heritage Centre is a jewel in a part of the Gaspé that is trying to retain its tenuous connection to an increasingly distant (and alas, for some, irrelevant) past.

The Centre hosts a full schedule of events throughout the summer and fall, including lectures, concerts, temporary exhibits, storytelling, workshops and other activities. It is also the starting point for a walking tour of New Carlisle's many historic sites.

For more information on the Kempffer Centre, including opening hours, call (418) 752-1334, or email heritagenc@globetrotter.net.