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Eddy-Out and Ferry through Some Local History

Posted on: October 18th, 2017 by Tristan Evans

Sometimes it is the historical tangents that prove to be the best stories.  While looking up landings and ferries near Chilliwack I came across this brief news clipping from 1936:

“The Rosedale-Agassiz ferry, J. T. Henley, captain, which suffered a breakdown Monday noon, had repairs effected in time for it to resume regular schedule Wednesday” (Chilliwack Progress, 14 October 1936).

Captain John Thomas Jack Henley. [PP500358]

Captain John Thomas Jack Henley. [PP500358]

The clipping is short and to the point because everyone in town already knew about the Rosedale-Agassiz ferry and the ferry’s captain.  However, being a relatively new arrival to Chilliwack (by 1936 standards) I had not heard of Captain Henley before.  Therefore I dove deeper into the archival records.  Treading through the stacks I learned that there is so much more to this story than just a minor repair to a ferry.

John Thomas Henley was born on October 11, 1872 near Owen Sound, Ontario.  In 1894, Henley began migrating west spending time harvesting in Manitoba and logging in Wisconsin and Minnesota.  Four years later he arrived in Vancouver.  He quickly departed Vancouver for Dawson, Yukon where he “found gold… and spent it too” (Chilliwack Progress, 14 February 1961).  Nine years later Henley left the Yukon for Chilliwack arriving in June, 1908.  A world traveler, Henley said later in life, “I’ve seen most of the major productive spots in the world, but none of them can top the Chilliwack Valley in horticulture and agriculture” (Chilliwack Progress, 7 December 1949).

In Chilliwack Henley worked for nine years as a butcher and served as an Aldermen for the City of Chilliwack from 1928-1933 and again from 1942-1948.  However, he is best known as the ferry captain on the Rosedale-Agassiz ferry.

Acrylic Painting of the Eena ferry on the Agassiz side of the Fraser River. [1986.042.016]

Acrylic Painting of the Eena ferry on the Agassiz side of the Fraser River. [1986.042.016]

Henley’s captain career had an inauspicious start.  His first ship, the John P. Douglas, burned in the mouth of the Harrison River on its run to Harrison Mills.  Henley’s second ship, the Vedder, burned in the mouth of the Stikine River.  Please note that sources vary on exactly where the ship burned.

Despite the setbacks Henley continued to operate a ferry between Chilliwack and Harrison Mills for nine years.  Henley later said, “I’ve had a lot of misfortunes, but I’ve always had good health to carry me along.  And I’ve had a lot of fun, too” (Chilliwack Progress, 7 December 1949).

In 1932, after serving as an engineer on the Rosedale-Agassiz ferry Henley “took a charter contract to operate the ferry boat for the provincial government, under the public works department…” and became “master and manager of the ferry at the Rosedale-Agassiz landings” (Chilliwack Museum and Archives, AM 22, File 122).  Henley served as the Captain of the Eena until 1951 managing the Rosedale-Agassiz ferry.  Please note that sources differ on Henley’s exact captainship.  Some sources say he was a captain in 1929 of the Eena while other say he was only a crew member and not captain until 1932.

Ever restless, in 1938 Henley briefly left Chilliwack for a world tour.  His tour included Singapore, Mount Everest, the Taj Mahal, Egypt, Palestine, France, England, and Scotland.  He even “had a turn or two around Gai Paree” (Chilliwack Progress, 7 December 1949).  Never short of witty comments, on his return to Chilliwack Henley told reporters:

“Of the four most wonderful man-made things I saw on the trip, I had to come home to Canada to see the one that topped them all… There was the Taj Mahal in India, the bust of the Virgin Mary in Jerusalem and the crown jewels in the Tower of London.  But the most wondrous thing of all was the sight of the Dionne Quintuplets in Canada… I saw Niagara Falls too, for the first time and then I came back to Chilliwack and witnessed another amazing thing… a man with a wooden leg dancing the two-step” (Chilliwack Museum and Archives, AM 335).

Captain John T. Henley died at Chilliwack general hospital on February 13, 1961.  At the very least he was an interesting re-settler of the Chilliwack valley and seemed like the kind of individual worth grabbing a drink with.

Digitizing the Frederick Gordon Leary Fonds

Posted on: September 13th, 2017 by Tristan Evans

Photograph of a group of men at one of Chilliwack's landings (possibly Minto Landing), ca. 1914. [2015.063.033]

Photograph of a group of men at one of Chilliwack’s landings (possibly Minto Landing), ca. 1914. [2015.063.033]

In my first blog post, The Decision to Digitize, I discussed the various challenges associated with digitization and why we do not digitize everything at the Archives.  While most of our records will likely never be completely digitized, there are some occasions when it is appropriate to digitize an entire collection.  I am not going to say that I exactly lied to you about digitizing archival records; but rather, this is one of those rare occasions when it was decided that the work and costs associated with digitization were well worth the advantage of accessibility.

Last year, archivist Shannon Bettles wrote a blog titled, Alligators, Confectionary, and a man named Leary.  If you have not had the opportunity to read this blog I strongly encourage you to take a look.  The blog describes the fascinating story of how the Frederick Gordon Leary fonds (previously known as the Dragonfly collection) made its way into our collection.  My favourite part is, of course, the KeyThe Key gives you a brief inside into how us archivist will use the collection itself to determine provenance.

Man pictured on the steps of a building by a railway intersection, possibly a track-changing station, ca. 1914. [2015.063.029]

Man pictured on the steps of a building by a railway intersection, possibly a track-changing station, ca. 1914. [2015.063.029]

Over the past summer, archival and curatorial assistant Rachel Vandenberg, and volunteer Ev Parker worked on digitizing and describing the Frederick Gordon Leary fonds.  Some minor details have changed since Shannon’s original blog – most notably the name of the fonds and some of the specific identification numbers.  Nevertheless, I am proud to say that all of the glass plate negatives and photographic prints from this collection have been digitized and described.

Please feel free to take a look at the Frederick Gordon Leary fonds on this direct link and enjoy these amazing photographs of Chilliwack just past the turn of the century.  Once you have chosen your dream house from amongst photographs, feel free to change the search terms and take a look at our other collections.

Project Naming – Stó:lō and S’olh Temexw Version

Posted on: July 26th, 2017 by Tristan Evans

Earlier this year I was fortunate to travel to Victoria to attend the 2017 Archives Association of British Columbia Conference.  During this conference I was introduced to the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) project, Project Naming.  In short, Project Naming is a collaborative effort between Nunavut Sivuniksavut; Nunavut’s Department of Culture, Languages, Elders and Youth; and LAC.  In Project Naming, photographic records of Canada’s northern Indigenous population with little or no description are posted on various social media platforms.  Project Naming asks the community if anyone recognizes the individual(s) in the photograph or has any other relevant information so that Library and Archives Canada can update their archival record.

 

Young Women with Woolly Dog, James O. Booen Photograph, ca. 1895-1897. [P Coll 120 P25]

Young Women with Woolly Dog, James O. Booen Photograph, ca. 1895-1897. [P Coll 120 P25]

From the Library and Archives Canada website:

 

“Project Naming enables Indigenous individuals to engage in the identification of photographs from Library and Archives Canada… the majority of individuals depicted in the images in LAC’s collections were never identified.  Many archival descriptions relating to events or activities are absent or have dated information (e.g. place names, band names, or terminology).  Or information is based on original inscriptions and captions found on the records, and hence reflects the biases and attitudes of non-Aboriginal society at the time.”

 

Inspired by Project Naming, today I am th’ith’exwstélémét (asking for help).  In the J. O. Booen fonds is a glass plate negative depicting what we have been told are two Stó:lō women with a woolly dog.  The photograph was taken by James Orville Booen who was based in Chilliwack from October 1895-1897.  Beyond that, we know very little about the photograph.

 

Detail of the James O. Booen photograph of Stó:lō women with woolly dog, ca. 1895-1897. [P Coll 120 P25]

Detail of the James O. Booen photograph of Stó:lō women with woolly dog, ca. 1895-1897. [P Coll 120 P25]

Do you recognize the women in this photograph?

 

Have you seen the print of this negative at a family or friends house?

 

If you have any information regarding this photograph please feel free to contact the Chilliwack Museum and Archives, or myself directly, and we will happily update our archival records.  I would also like to thank the Stó:lō Research and Resource Management Centre for confirming the use of this photograph.

 

Thank you for looking.

 

[email protected]

604-795-5210 ext. 104

Preventing Pest Infestation – Don’t Bug Out

Posted on: June 21st, 2017 by Tristan Evans

Disclaimer: Content in the following blog post may be disturbing to bug lovers. 

Recently I picked up a donation for the archives that caused me some concern.  Before bringing the newly acquired collection into the stacks I noticed a silverfish at the bottom of the bankers box.  Archival instincts taking over, I immediately crushed the insect.

Destruction after grazing of silverfish.  Photo Credit: Micha L. Rieser (Wikipedia)

Destruction after grazing of silverfish. Photo Credit: Micha L. Rieser (Wikipedia)

Panic is seldom a word heard in the archives profession.  With my heartbeat rising, my mind immediately raced to the horror stories I heard about at archival conferences.  Sweaty palms, I needed to address the situation and address it quickly.  Perhaps the word panic is a bit melodramatic; but, it’s not every blog post that I get to exaggerate somewhat.

Silverfish – Lepisma Saccharina – will graze across records leaving a wake of destruction in their path.  Okay, maybe not exactly a wake of destruction but they can multiple and precautions should be taken to keep their populations in control.  In his book, “How to Recognize and Eliminate Silverfish, Beetles, Cockroaches, Moths, Termites, Rats and Mildew in Libraries and Archives,” Thomas A. Parker explains how Silverfish enter an institution.

“They lay eggs in the corrugations of cardboard boxes, one of their favorite areas for egg deposition.  Although the adult silverfish may not feed directly on the cardboard, they very commonly feed on the glue that holds the cardboard box together.  With every cardboard box coming into a library, a new load of silverfish and their eggs is bound to arrive.  Upon hatching, depending on the conditions in which the box is stored, they may then roam widely to find a suitable food source.”

 

Alright everyone, Chill!  

Obviously, it is nearly impossible to prevent silverfish and other pests from entering an archive.  The best preventative solution is environmental control, cleanliness, and monitoring in the stacks.  Nevertheless, records that have obviously been compromised should be addressed before the archivist places them in the same stacks as other records.  One of the easiest and most effective ways to eliminate bugs and their eggs on paper material is by freezing the records.

Step one: Isolate the material.  I kept the material in my truck while I consulted my archival pest management manuals.

Freezing records at the Chilliwack Museum and Archives.  Photo credit: Tristan Evans (June 19, 2017)

Freezing records at the Chilliwack Museum and Archives. Photo credit: Tristan Evans (June 19, 2017)

Step two: Wrap the records in plastic or Ziploc bags tightly and seal them with water resistant tape to prevent condensation from forming.

Step three: Freeze the materials at a temperature of at least -20 C for 72 hours.

Step four: Remove the material and defrost as slowly as possible.  Keep the records sealed for roughly three weeks and watch for holes in the plastic.  If holes do appear, eggs within the compromised records may not have been killed during the freezing process and the hatched bugs may be attempting to escape by eating their way out.

Repeat as necessary.

When it comes to silverfish and other forms of pests my mind defaults to what Mr. Freeze eloquently said, “I’m afraid my condition has left me cold to your pleas of mercy.”

Microfilm and Microfiche

Posted on: May 17th, 2017 by Tristan Evans
Microfiche

Microfilm and microfiche at the Chilliwack Museum and Archives.

Have you ever wondered what that old looking machine tucked away in the back of the research room is and what it is used for?  Is it a really old computer?  Is it a machine used to watch videos on an older format?  Perhaps it is used to digitize images?  In fact, it is a microfilm/microfiche reader.  Now you may be asking, what is microfilm/microfiche and why is it used at the archives?

According to the Society of American Archivist, microfilm is “transparent film containing highly reduced copies of documents.”  Similar to microfilm, microfiche is “a sheet of transparent film [with]  microimages arranged in rows and columns, usually with an area for eye-readable description at the top.”  In layman’s terms, this means that both microfilm and microfiche are tiny images of documents on either a rolled film or a flat sheet, respectively.  At its core, the microfilm reader is just a big magnifying glass that shines a light through the film allowing the researcher to read the microfilm or microfiche.

Rachel Microfilm

Summer intern Rachel Vandenberg doing property research on microfilm, May 16, 2017.

What makes microfilm and microfiche so indispensable to archives is its preservation and access value.  To touch on the latter first, all you need to read microfilm or microfiche is light and a magnifying glass.  There is no need to worry about special computer programs, obsolete machinery, or corrupted digital files.  To be fair, searching through microfilm or microfiche can be significantly time consuming when compared to digital keyword searchable files.  However, should the medium for whatever technology you are using in the future fail–as all things do at some point–you will still be able to read and access the information on microfilm and/or microfiche with a magnifying glass and a flashlight.

Microfilm/microfiche is also a fantastic resource for preserving archival records.  As the name implies, microfilm/microfiche is a miniature version of the original document.  The information on an old municipal tax roll that is 40 x 50 x 17 cm can fit into a 10 x 10 x 4 cm microfilm roll.  As limited space is a concern for nearly every archive, microfilm/microfiche is a great resource for storing the historical data of these records.  Furthermore, stored properly microfilm/microfiche has a minimum life expectancy of 500 years.  This is why so many archives have microfilmed their newspaper collections, which are often made of highly acidic and easily degradable paper.

There is nothing glamorous about microfilm or microfiche and doing research on these mediums is time consuming.  However, microfilm and microfiche are tried-and-true preservation resources.  Consider them another tool in the archivist toolkit that is likely to stick around for the foreseeable future.  Chances are, if you are doing property ownership research and looking at old township tax rolls at the Chilliwack Museum and Archives, you will likely have the opportunity to use that strange-looking machine in the back of the research room.

Getting ready for the 2017 BCHF Conference

Posted on: May 10th, 2017 by Stephanie Clinton

Over the past 7 months I’ve been lucky to sit on the BCHF Conference Committee to help bring a fantastic lineup of lectures, field trips, and events to our community.

The BC Historical Federation was established in 1922 and acts as an umbrella association for historical societies in British Columbia. As the BCHF conference hosts for 2017, the Chilliwack Museum and Historical Society has been organizing tours and lectures which highlight our local history. Having been able to sit on the organizing committee since the start, I’ve seen firsthand how difficult it has been to cut down the options for tours and lectures for just 4 days of programming. Chilliwack has such a wealth of historical sites and information to share!

BCHF conference tours include a trip to the New Siberia Farm, a 92 year old farm!

BCHF conference tours include a trip to the New Siberia Farm, a 92 year old farm!

That being said, we have been able to put together a fantastic lineup that really showcases the diversity of our area and highlights the importance of preserving and caring for our history today. This is a 4 day festival of history that is accessible and open to everyone, not just those working in the field.

What can you expect?

Whether you’re new to Chilliwack or have lived here all your life, there’s something new for you to explore. The lineup includes workshops, lectures, field trips and evening presentations around the conference theme of “Land, Water, People”. For example:

  • Learn how to take care of your family artifacts, photographs and personal papers with accomplished family historians Brenda L. Smith and Diane Rogers. Get behind the scenes tours of the Chilliwack Archives and learn more about the work of the archives at our Archives Bootcamp.
  • Join for lectures by experts in their fields. Topics range from ‘Flood Management’, ‘Modern Treaties and Reconciliation’ to ‘Finding Chilliwack’s Fallen’, addressing our past, current, and future relationship with the land, water, and people of Chilliwack.
  • Hop on a bus and explore sites around Chilliwack, including tours to local hop and dairy farms, Stó:lō nation, historic river boat landings, and more!

Conference registration is open to all. Sign up for the full 4 days, 1 day packagesindividual event tickets, or workshops. If you’re a Chilliwack Museum and Historical Society member, don’t forget you receive BCHF Member pricing for the conference!

See you May 25-28!

The Decision to Digitize

Posted on: April 12th, 2017 by Tristan Evans

About once a week I’m asked if everything we have at the Archives is available online. In the digital age, this is a fair question. There are many positive outcomes when digitizing certain archival records including increased user access, keyword searching, as well as the potential preservation advantages. There is no doubt that digitization does, and will, continue to play an important role in the archival community. However, digitization is not as simple as scanning every document and publishing it online. Careful thought with regards to resource allocation, security, and record management needs to be considered before an archivist or institution makes the decision to digitize.

Photograph shows unidentified man posing with early biplane, reportedly first airplane in Chilliwack. Plane was brought to the Chilliwack Fair, ca. 1912 or 1913. [PP501061]

Photograph shows unidentified man posing with early biplane, reportedly first airplane in Chilliwack. Plane was brought to the Chilliwack Fair, ca. 1912 or 1913. [PP501061]

Digitizing is extremely expensive. According to the United States National Historical Publications and Records Commission, “a total cost of $1 – $3 [$1.33 – $4 CAD] per scan is reasonable for homogenous textual collections in good condition.” Considering that an average bankers box contains approximately 2500 sheets of paper, the average cost per bankers box is roughly $3,325 to $10,000 CAD. What’s more, as a community archives many of the records donated to the Chilliwack Museum and Archives come in various sizes, media types, and conditions. As a result, the total cost to scan one bankers box of records is significantly higher.

In addition to the financial costs, scanning can be very time intensive. While digitizing the Hubert H. Humphrey Papers the Minnesota Historical Society found that the average time spent per sheet of paper equaled 1.38 minutes. Furthermore, the process of digitizing includes more than scanning. In general, scanning is only about one-third of the time spent digitizing a record. By comparison, Yale University estimates that processing one bankers box—or roughly 2500 pages of paper using standard traditional methods—takes from 1.1 days for government records to 3.5 days for personal papers. By prioritizing digitization, limited staff and volunteer time is taken away from other areas of the institution’s need.

Chilliwack Progress Press Photograph: "Kayaker Gerry Storch at third annual B.C. Kayak and Canoe Club international slalom on Chilliwack River," April 7, 1961. [1999.029.008.012]

Chilliwack Progress Press Photograph: “Kayaker Gerry Storch at third annual B.C. Kayak and Canoe Club international slalom on Chilliwack River,” April 7, 1961. [1999.029.008.012]

One of the advantages of digital records is that it allows users greater ability to access and share information. Therefore, greater security measures and precautions are needed to guarantee the authenticity of a digital record. Before scanning, the material needs to be vetted to ensure the absence of personal or sensitive information. When capturing and migrating records to new digital formats, the archivist needs to be aware of the potential loss of content, context, and arrangement. Digital preservation requires expensive servers and records need to be periodically checked to ensure that the files have not been corrupted. Finally, the Archivist needs to ensure the future ability to read and access an electronic record as software programs and storage formats are updated and replaced.

In short, everything we have at the Archives is not available online. However, that is not to say that digitization should not be attempted or considered. Despite the many challenges to digitizing records, the benefits often outweigh the costs. At the Chilliwack Museum and Archives there are approximately 12,423 photographic images available from our website, 471 other archival records digitized to some degree, and the entire Chilliwack Progress Newspaper digitized and keyword searchable from 1891 to 2007.

New Archivist applies history to real life, loves the whitewater

Posted on: February 23rd, 2017 by Matthew Francis

February 15th was the first day on the job for our new Archivist, Tristan Evans. Tristan originally hails from Prince George, B.C., but has lived in California for many years. He brings to Chilliwack unique professional experience in the Archives field, as well as a track-record of applying the study of history to practical situations in diverse communities. Executive Director Matthew Francis recently had the opportunity to speak with Tristan, so we can all get to know him better. 

Tristan – you are originally from British Columbia, but have spent most of your life in California. How did you enjoy living, studying, and working in beautiful California?

If you are ‘into’ the outdoors, Northern California is an excellent place to live.  Within a two hour drive you have access to world class whitewater, mountain biking, hiking trails, backcountry skiing, and ocean surfing.  I loved the year-round activities that Northern California provided.

New Archivist Tristan Evans is an avid white-water sports enthusiast.

New Archivist Tristan Evans is an avid white-water sports enthusiast.

I was fortunate to complete my undergraduate degree at the University of California, Davis and my graduate degree at California State University, Sacramento.  Both of these schools have excellent history departments with courses that I found both challenging and rewarding.  At Davis, I also had the opportunity to study abroad for one year at the University of Legon, Accra, Ghana.  During this experience I really enjoyed working with the local Ga-Adangbe community as I did a case study on the impact of colonization within their community.

University of Ghana, Legon, courtesy of www.legonconnect.com

University of Ghana, Legon, courtesy of www.legonconnect.com

What I found most stimulating about working in Northern California is the diversity of the jobs and institutions within the history field.  Sacramento is home to the California State Archives, the Center for Sacramento History, several volunteer archives, and the special collections of the California State Library, Sacramento State University, and Sacramento City Library.  Furthermore, there are several Cultural Resource Management and Historic Preservation firms from small to large.  I always found it very interesting interacting with different professionals in the same field that had such different experiences.

 You have a background History, Cultural Resource Management, and a Master’s degree in Public History – what is “Public History,” and how did you get interested in the work of Archives?

 In short, Public History is any form of history that is applied outside of the classroom.  A synonym for Public History that I prefer to use is Applied History.  It is also sometimes referred to as community history.  Areas of Public History include but are not limited to: Museum Studies, Cultural Resource Management, Historic Preservation, Archives, Oral History, History and Memory, and many more topics.

My interest in Archives is actually very different than most Archivists.  When I started the Public History program I thought I would follow a career in Cultural Resource Management (i.e. evaluating the built environment for evaluation on National, State, and Local Registers of Historic Places) and only took my first Archives class to help expand my research knowledge.  However, after taking the class and processing my first collection at the Center for Sacramento History, I quickly learned that I really enjoyed the field and working with original documents.

 That collaborative spirit will serve you well as you work with our Museum and Archives team, as well as providing Archives services to the people here in Chilliwack! Tristan, you have Archives experience working in the California State Archives. What kinds of things did you do there?

California State Archives Logo

 I worked as a Processing Assistant at the California State Archives.  In this capacity, I processed three different collections of various sizes and wrote finding aids for each collection using archival standards.  The first collection I processed was the California Assembly Agriculture Committee records.  Next, I worked on the Tim Leslie Papers.  This collection was unique in that it had over 200 audio-visual records in the form audio tapes, video tapes, and compact discs.  However, the collection I most enjoyed working on was my third collection, the California Department of Social Welfare Records.  To date, this is the second largest processed collection at the California State Archives followed only by the Governor Earl Warren Papers.  Records from this collection stretched from 1903 to 1979.  Because of the many departmental changes throughout the years, the collection consisted of two record groups, several sub-record groups, some sub-sub record groups, almost 200 different series, multiple sub-series, and even some sub-sub series.  It was an extremely challenging collection.  Learning about the transformation of social services in California was fascinating.  I believe that the records in this collection are truly unique and I am very proud of the fact that I helped improve access to these records for future researchers.

 You also worked closely with Indigenous communities in Northern California. How might that experience inform your work in Chilliwack?

 Previously I had the honor to work for the United Auburn Indian Community (UAIC) as the Cultural Resources Assistant.  I worked under the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer and consulted with State and Federal agencies as an Architectural Historian for the Community with regards to Traditional Cultural Properties and Traditional Cultural Resources.  Naturally, working in the Preservation Department at UAIC, I worked with community members every day.  It is hard to quantify the special experience that I acquired while working for UAIC.  The understanding that I gained in this position will reflect many of the decisions that I will make at the Archives.

 If you could share one thing with people about the value of community Archives, what would it be?

 As a Public Historian, I think that community Archives reflect the soul of a community.  Only in a community Archives will you find information on local individuals, local buildings and properties, local points of interest, and of course, local history.  These records often get lost, underutilized, or deemed too unimportant in larger organizations.

 You have only been in Chilliwack a few weeks now, and arrived during an ice-storm! Apart from your work, what kind of things are you looking forward to discovering and doing here in Chilliwack?

 I have been told that Chilliwack is a great place to live if you are in to the outdoors.  For this reason I made sure to bring my kayaks, mountain bike, stand up paddleboard, skies, snow shoes, and snowboard.  I am really excited to take my kayak down the Chilliwack River and explore the Tamahi rapid as well as the sections upstream.  I am also looking forward to mountain biking on Vedder Mountain and exploring the many hikes in the area.  When the weather warms up I will contact the Chilliwack Crusaders rugby club.

Thanks, Tristan, for taking the time to introduce yourself! Welcome to the Chilliwack Museum and Archives team. 

Tristan Evans is the Archivist at the Chilliwack Museum and Archives. The Archives are located at Evergreen Hall, 9291 Corbould Street, in Chilliwack. We are open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 9:00am – 4:30pm, and Tuesdays and Thursdays by appointment. If you have any questions about locally significant historic records, or simply to connect with Chilliwack’s history, you can contact Tristan at [email protected] or by phone at (604) 795-5210 ext. 104. 

Association and Memberships have Benefits

Posted on: September 21st, 2016 by Bettles, Shannon

Shannon Bettles doing collection work at the Chilliwack Archives

Collection work at the Chilliwack Museum and Archives. [Photo credit: Jenna Hauck]

The professional world of museum, archives and heritage in BC is full of acronyms:  AABC, BCMA, BCHF, CMA, HBC. What do these acronyms stand for and what do they mean for our organization and profession? Let’s explore.

The Chilliwack Museum and Historical Society, who operate the Chilliwack Museum and Archives, has been a longstanding member of many professional organizations that advocate for, accredit, provide guidance for and support the Society’s mandate and work in the preservation and presentation of Chilliwack’s culture, heritage, and natural and human history. Put simply – membership has benefits.

The Archives Association of BC (AABC)

The mission of the AABC  “is to foster the development of the provincial archival community in order to better preserve and promote access to British Columbia’s documentary heritage” (AABC, 2012). The work the AABC does helps archival repositories like Chilliwack’s reach and maintain professional standards of best practices in the field. Essentially this works to improve the preservation of archival materials and facilitate public access to them.

Chilliwack Progress newspapers at the Chilliwack Archives

Archives collection at the Chilliwack Museum and Archives. [Photo credit: Jenna Hauck]

Becoming a Full Institutional member of the AABC and maintaining AABC credentials are not easy tasks.  Meeting Full Institutional requirements includes employing a full time trained Archivist, reaching best environmental preservation standards, demonstrating commitment to ensuring access to information and engaging in professional development.  Being an accredited member of AABC assures researchers and donors that the organization strives to uphold and maintain best practices in the field – that we are a trusted repository for original archival materials.

The Chilliwack Museum and Archives is a proud Full Institutional member of the AABC.

BC Museums Association (BCMA)

The mandate of the BCMA is to “create(s) a bright future for British Columbia’s museum, gallery, and related heritage communities through networking, advocacy, innovation, and professional development” (BCMA, 2016).

BCMA Roundup Magazine

BCMA Roundup Magazine.

As an Institutional Member of the BCMA, the Chilliwack Museum and Archives benefits from its staff being actively engaged in professional development; by learning about and employing excellence and innovation in the field; by benefitting from the BCMA’s advocacy efforts around the province; and by connecting and networking with other museums, galleries and cultural centres in BC in order to provide our community the best museum services it can. These functions of the BCMA helps the Chilliwack Museum and Archives to stay relevant and continually improve its services.

Chilliwack Museum and Archives staff regularly attend the BCMA annual conference and subscribe to Roundup, the magazine of the BCMA.

The Chilliwack Museum and Archives is a proud Institutional Member of the BCMA.

British Columbia Historical Federation (BCHF)

Incorporated in 1922, the BCHF has three stated purposes: “(1) to promote the preservation and marking of historical sites, relics, natural features, and other objects and places of historical interest; (2) to stimulate public interest, and to encourage historical research, in British Columbia history; and (3) to publish historical sketches, studies, and documents” (BCHF, 2016).

BC History Magazine

BC History Magazine of the BCHF.

To these ends, the BCHF publishes the magazine called BC History; recognizes the work of Member Societies through a scholarship and awards program; and awards and endows the Lieutenant Governor’s BC Book Prize for best historical writing. Being a Member Society of the BCHF benefits members of the Chilliwack Museum and Historical Society by supporting and advocating for local history and historical projects our members are involved in, and by providing opportunities to learn, explore, contribute to, preserve and appreciate the widespread knowledge of BC’s history.

The Chilliwack Museum and Archives has been a proud Member Society of the BCHF for many decades. The BCHF’s annual conference is being held in Chilliwack next May 25 – 28th.

Canadian Museums Association (CMA)

The CMA is the “national organization for the advancement of the Canadian museum sector, representing Canadian museum professionals both within Canada and internationally” (CMA, 2016). The promotion and advocacy of museums in Canada and abroad and the representation of museum professional at the national level is important work that benefits all museums in Canada, including ours here in Chilliwack.

The CMA administers the Young Canada Works program in museums; awards professional development bursaries ; publishes Muse magazine; and holds an annual conference. The Chilliwack Museum and Archives holds membership with the CMA at the Institutional Association level.

Heritage BC (HBC)

HBC is a “not-for-profit, charitable organization supporting heritage conservation across British Columbia through education, training and skills development, capacity building in heritage planning and funding through the Heritage Legacy Fund” (HBC, 2016).

The Chilliwack Museum, itself housed in a National Historic Site of Canada, provides museum and archives services that help to conserve and interpret heritage sites in Chilliwack. Membership with HBC connects the Chilliwack Museum with the heritage conservation and planning expertise of professionals and organizations within the Province.

The Chilliwack Museum and Archives is a proud member of Heritage BC.

References

Museums, Libraries, Archives and One Summer Student

Posted on: August 23rd, 2016 by Stephanie Clinton

By Janelle Haley, Museum Assistant, Summer Student 2016

If you came to the Archives or the Museum, or both, this summer there may have been a chance that you would have seen me: Janelle! I was so fortunate when Matthew Francis, Executive Director, phoned me to offer me the summer student position of Museum Assistant. Every day I learned something new. The staff and volunteers were so fun and inspirational to work with that the summer flew by.

Working at the Chilliwack Archives.

Working at the Chilliwack Archives. 

Working with Archivist Shannon Bettles, I started a project that consisted of doing inventory in the archives, as well as helped out with photo orders and property history inquiries. While working on the inventory project, I came across a document written by Casey Wells which ended up being his proposal for a “Community History Research Library”. This proposed institution would collect and preserve the history of the local community. Immediately I thought, “this is what the Archives does!” As I was handling the documents, I felt humbled and proud to be doing work with the Museum and Archives knowing that Casey Wells’ idea actually came to fruition.

With Curator Jane Lemke, I got to handle (always with gloves), photograph, and catalogued artifacts with really interesting stories connected to the people of Chilliwack. I also helped out with a few things for the upcoming photography exhibit such as finding old camera ads and adding captions to the famous J.O. Booen photos. Everyone should come check out this exhibit because it is going to be great!

At the Museum, I worked with Museum Attendant Anna Irwin to cover the extended hours, make up discovery hunts for children, and come up with activity and craft ideas for future programming. We also helped input data for our new online membership system, Wild Apricot, with the help of Administrative and Volunteer Coordinator Alison Adamson, which is now up and running online. I was also fortunate to be a representative for the Museum and Archives at the Chilliwack Fraser Valley Regional Library branch in June to promote National Aboriginal Day with Education and Engagement Coordinator Stephanie Clinton, where we saw almost 80 people who stopped by to talk with us. I was also onsite at the Museum for our Family Sports Day in July where I got to help facilitate crafts and try lawn bowling and ringette!

At FVRL Chilliwack Branch for National Aboriginal Day 2016.

At FVRL Chilliwack Branch for National Aboriginal Day 2016.

Over the course of the summer, I had a lot of people assuming that I must be a history student, due to the fact that I was working for a Museum and Archives (spoiler alert) … I am not! I have taken a few history courses as part of my Bachelor of General Studies degree at the University of the Fraser Valley that were very informative and interesting, but my main focus of study is in library and information management. This summer work experience showed me just how much libraries, museums, and archives have in common. At all three organizations, staff help visitors with research requests/questions, understand and implement classification schemes, catalogue items, create and offer programs, and participate in outreach initiatives in the community.

As the summer draws to an end, I feel the need to help promote all museums (but particularly ours) wherever I can, whenever I can. Through this experience I have become more aware of Chilliwack’s history and the work that is done by the wonderful staff and volunteers at the Chilliwack Museum and Archives. So, if you are interested in learning a bit about the history of Chilliwack, please come by and visit the Museum and Archives! Thanks again to everyone who worked with me and taught me new things through this opportunity.