Court House Museum

The Argyle Township Court House & Gaol is Canada’s oldest standing courthouse, built in the village of Tusket, Nova Scotia in 1805. It operated as a working courthouse and jail from 1805 until 1944. The building served as the Municipal Offices for the Municipality of Argyle from 1945 until 1976. In 1982, the building was partially restored and re-opened as a museum and historic site. In 2005, the building was declared a National Historic Sit

Hours of Operation (Seasonal):

The Argyle Township Court House & Gaol Museum and “Cell” Gift Shop is open seasonally.

2024 Season:  June 14 – October 25

Monday to Friday:  9 am – 4:30 pm
Select Saturdays (July & August): 10 am – 4 pm

Interpretation & Exhibits

Unlike most museum experiences, the Courthouse tour is an immersive one in which knowledgeable staff lead visitors through the building, bringing them into direct contact with the past.  Visitors will see, smell, feel and hear for themselves what it would have been like to have been a prisoner (or a judge or any other person involved with a trial) in the 1870s. 

Although we highly recommend going through the building with a guide for best visitor experience, for those who prefer to do the tour on their own, we also offer a self-guided audio tour, in English or French.  A guide will still be nearby for safety purposes.

We are not a collecting museum.  The courthouse itself is our main artefact.  As such, we do not have exhibits throughout the building, such as would be found in a typical community museum. 

However, in recent years the Grand Jury Room has been renovated, providing us with a space where temporary exhibits can be mounted and changed each season, offering new content for regular visitors to our site. 

For 2024, in honour of the World Acadian Congress, or Congrès mondial acadien (CMA 2024), which is being hosted in the Clare / Argyle Region, we are pleased to offer an exhibit “Celebrating Acadian Excellence in Argyle.”