What happened to ‘Steam-up Days’?
The Nova Scotia Department of Labour has strict safety guidelines pertaining to the operation of extremely dangerous high pressure boilers like the one at the mill. In addition to needing highly trained personnel, the equipment itself must be inspected regularly by the department.
In the past, the museum periodically scheduled (usually twice per season) a weekend during which the boiler would be fired up and the mill would demonstrate operations. The last occurred in 2001.
After that season the Nova Scotia Department of Labour determined that the boiler would have to be replaced.
Since then, the museum has been working toward a solution to bring back a degree of animation to the mill. At this time we have determined that pneumatics is the best option. Compressed air looks and feels nearly identical to steam with the added benefits of increased safety and more simplicity. In addition, rather than being something that happens seasonally, pneumatic demonstrations can occur weekly. We hope to be able to make this happen within the next 2 to 3 years.