Arts of the Sailor: Sailors’ Valentine Course

February 9, 2019

1 pm to 3 pm

Cost: Included with Museum Admission

For more information, contact Jeanne Church at 902-424-7491 or

Legend has it that the beautiful pieces of shell mosaic art known as Sailor’s Valentines were made by bored and lonely sailors to pass the time while at sea. However, studies prove that in fact they were ‘bought work’ made in Barbados, British West Indies in the early to late 1800s.  As Barbados and neighbouring islands were often the last port for English and Dutch traders and American whalers, these eight-sided boxes filled with exotic shells could be found in curio shops throughout the island.

These works of art were made in octagonal wooden boxes and usually two sided and hinged for easy transportation. A true sailor’s valentine was said to include a flower design, a heart form or a special message such as Think of Me or Forget Me Not, all made with shells.


Sitting down to work!

This workshop gives you the chance to make your own sailor’s valentine for someone near and dear to you by using ordinary beach shells and gluing then in fancy patterns onto a backing.


For additional information:
Richard MacMichael