Business Number: 107788408RR0001

Our Mission

Our mission is to research collect, preserve and share the Gaelic heritage and culture of Nova Scotia. Inclusive of Gaelic folk-life from settlement to present, including but not limited to, language, cultural expressions, lifestyles, crafts, customs, and represent it accurately and vibrantly.

Our vision is to be acknowledged for advancing research, fostering appreciation, learning and sharing Gaelic language and heritage while serving a vibrant Gaelic cultural community (i.e. a Gaelic institution).


The Nova Scotia Highland Village Society was founded in 1959, to create a living history museum to interpret, preserve and promote the Scottish Gaelic language, culture and heritage as found in Nova Scotia. In 2000, the Society entered into a new relationship with the Province of Nova Scotia, which resulted in the Highland Village becoming a part of the Nova Scotia Museum family. The Society continues to operate the site on behalf of the Province.

Naidheachd ‘a Bhaile | The Village News:

Commemorating 60 Years and Planning for Our Future

Am Foghar | Fall 2019

Mòran taing! Many thanks!

On behalf of the Nova Scotia Highland Village Society, we thank you, our community, for your continued support of Baile nan Gàidheal | Highland Village Museum in Iona. Whether you visit our site, bring or refer visitors to the Village, participate in one of our many programs, shop in our gift shop, or volunteer with us, our community is integral to the continued success of the Village. We very much appreciate the enthusiasm you continue to show us.

60th Anniversary

60 years ago this month the Nova Scotia Highland Village Society was incorporated as a non-profifit society. Through the vision and pure tenacity of our founders and our community, the Highland Village quickly took root and grew on the hillside in Iona overlooking the Bras d’Or Lake. Six decades later we are a provincial museum that is a community economic driver for Central Cape Breton, one of Cape Breton Island’s premiere cultural heritage attractions, and a cultural centre internationally recognized for our interpretation and outreach of Nova Scotia Gaelic heritage and identity. Our successes were possible because of the support of our community.

Continued Success

Baile nan Gàidheal | Highland Village continues to grow its visitation and programming. The 2019 visitor season was yet another record-breaking season for the Highland Village. In 2019, almost 26,000 visitors visited our site or took part in one of our programs. This is the fififth consecutive year of increased visitation to the Highland Village. This growth is the result of our engaging interpretation and experiential programming and a renewed interest in the Gaelic Nova Scotia story. This year, the Village has a $1.2 million operating budget, most of which is spent here on Cape Breton Island, and supports forty-six year-round and seasonal jobs in our community.

Planning for the Future

With the continued growth in visitation, including signifificant increases in cruise ship visitation, there is growing pressure to expand and update the facilities on our site. The current visitor centre and other support buildings were built in the 1970s, and the last signifificant addition to the site was the Malagawatch Church in 2003. To meet our current and future demands, both in terms of visitation and visitor experience, the Village’s Board of Trustees has embarked on a $3.6 million site development strategy which will result in the construction of a new welcome and cultural resource centre including interactive exhibits, as well as visitor service and interpretive enhancements on the period site. The result will be a greatly enhanced visitor experience and an increased capacity for Highland Village programming and operations.

All three levels of government have signed on as funding partners: $1.2 million from the Province of Nova Scotia, $1.47 million from the Government of Canada, and $100,000 from the Municipality of Victoria County. The Nova Scotia Highland Village Society is responsible for the remaining $830,000. The Society currently has $350,000 in the bank taking us 87% towards our $3.6 million goal. To complete the project, we need to raise the remaining $480,000.

To help us meet our fundraising goal, a capital campaign cabinet led by Denis Ryan, with Linden MacIntyre, Dr. Sean Riley, Dr. Ron Stuart, and George Unsworth has been established. They are working to access funding from private sector sources.

How You Can Help

To successfully complete this project, we need financial assistance from you, our community.

Donations can be made by:

• cheque or money order to the Highland Village,

• credit card via (search Highland Village), or

• cash or other currency at our office in Iona.

With Christmas approaching, your donation to our campaign would make a great gift. We will acknowledge your donation with a special Christmas card.

All donations are tax deductible and will be acknowledged on our website (unless you request anonymity).

On behalf of everyone at the Highland Village, I thank you for your contribution. Your generosity will enable the Highland Village to grow and increase its impact on our community.

Tapadh leibh | Thank you.

M.A. MacPherson, President, The Nova Scotia Highland Village Society

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