In March, 1818 was when a schoolhouse was first provided for the community of Selma by Edward Cole. Later, land was given by John Pratt for a new schoolhouse, which burned in 1865. Construction of the present building was begun that year and officially opened in February, 1868.
Local shipbuilders (Alfred Putnam, W.D. Lawrence, Archibald McCallum, A.A. MacDougall, the Smith and Blots families, among other influential families) wanted a schoolhouse that would reflect their achievements in the flourishing local shipbuilding industry. The best materials were employed in its construction. The skill and craftsmanship of the ship building carpenters, so abundant in this industry in the mid Nineteen century, are reflected in the style and finish of the schoolhouse. Evidence of this is seen in the Palladian-style windows with their arched window “brows” on the gable and front sides, and pieced facing boards, brackets and transom windows over the front doors. The bell tower capped the centre of the roof of this picturesque style building – unique on these shores.
The two-room school served the community for many years before it assumed a new role as a community hall. Eventually, the building fell into disuse and disrepair. The building was eventually rescued by the Maitland & District Development Association (MDDA) and restored.
The building took on new life as an art gallery in 2006, reopening it’s doors in June, to great ceremony, and remaining open for the season into October. The 2016 season is the gallery’s 11th, and as we begin a new decade as a gallery, we invite you to come explore a new interactive display that reveals the history of this beautiful heritage property.