Knaut-Rhuland House Museum

The Knaut-Rhuland House is a late eighteenth century two and-a-half storey wooden structure and recognized as a Municipal, Provincial and National Historic Site. Located on Pelham Street, in the heart of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, the house is set immediately on the sidewalk, and is situated close to its neighbours. The building is currently a museum. The building and property were registered as a National Historic Site of Canada in 2004.

Visiting the museum
The Knaut-Rhuland House Museum is traditionally open in the summer from June 7th (Lunenburg’s birthday) through September 30.

Hours of Operation
Monday through Saturday 11 am – 5 pm
Sunday Noon to 4 pm

In September Noon to 4 pm daily

There is no admission fee, however donations are gratefully accepted.

The Knaut Rhuland House may be viewed virtually here. Follow the links and select the Knaut Rhuland House from the pull down menu on the top right corner of the page.

The House’s Heritage Value

The Knaut-Rhuland House is valued for its age, architectural style and previous ownership by well-known residents of Lunenburg. On the exterior it has many of the features of the New England Colonial style, yet it is unmistakably Georgian in its interior layout and floor plan. Knaut-Rhuland House was built in 1793-1794 by Benjamin Knaut, a merchant and sheriff of Lunenburg. He was the son of one of the most prominent foreign Protestants to settle Lunenburg in 1753, Philip Augustus Knaut. Philip Knaut was the first elected member from Lunenburg to the Nova Scotia Assembly of Representatives.

Benjamin Knaut sold this house in 1813 to Conrad Rhuland, a mariner and privateer. Rhuland was the grandson of another of Lunenburg’s original settlers. Rhuland made significant changes in the downstairs front parlour, reflecting the regional Vernacular German style of the first quarter of the 19th century.n 1823, Rhuland sold the house to John W. Creighton. As a member in the Assembly for Lunenburg County, Judge of Probate, President and Speaker of the Legislative Council, and finally as a Member of the Executive Council (Cabinet), Creighton was an important provincial politician from 1830 until his death in 1867. The house remained in the Creighton family until 1906.

In 1907, the house was sold to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and then to the Lunenburg Heritage Society in 2000. It is now a museum that serves as an example of early life in Lunenburg..

The house has been designated a National Historic Site by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada due to its historical importance. It has also been designated a Registered Heritage Property by the province of Nova Scotia and a Municipal Heritage Property by the Town of Lunenburg. It is one of the best-preserved eighteenth-century houses in Canada, built in the Colonial, Palladian style.

Character-defining elements of the Knaut-Rhuland House include:

  • thick stone foundation;
  • post and beam frame built around two massive central chimneys;
  • six-over-six windows, in a balanced five-bay façade around a central doorway;
  • a medium pitched roof and plank wall ;
  • hand-blown cylinder glass in some windows;
  • wide cornerboards, bracketed under returned eaves;
  • side and transom windows around the central front door;
  • simple trim ornamentation;
  • early nineteenth century latches and hinges, mouldings and ceiling cornices, & fireplace surrounds.

Garden
A lovely, shaded garden can be found on the West and North sides of the house. With the contribution of labour and plant material by numerous Society volunteers in the early 2000s, James Aulenbach, Head Gardener, designed and spent many hours developing a beautiful and very colourful garden in our backyard. James passed away in 2017, but you may enjoy some time in his garden whilst sitting on the bench donated in his memory by Sue Kashanski in 2021.

DONATIONS AND LOANS POLICY

The Lunenburg Heritage Society is actively soliciting donations and loans of historical artifacts that will help us portray and interpret the early history of the Town of Lunenburg at the Knaut-Rhuland House Museum. We are looking for artifacts that:

  1. pertain directly to the Town of Lunenburg and specifically to the settlement established by the Foreign Protestants of the era from 1753 to Confederation in 1867;
  2. relate directly to the Knaut, Rhuland and Creighton families during the years in which they occupied the House from approximately 1793 to 1910.

We are particularly interested in obtaining furniture, textiles, paintings, silver, porcelain, household tools, implements and furnishings that will help us tell the story of the House during the early years of the settlement of Lunenburg and its development as a prosperous community engaged in ship-building, privateering, fishing and trading throughout the world, as well as its contribution to political life in Nova Scotia.

For further information, please contact the Knaut-Rhuland House Committee.