Learning, Connection and Fun

@CHWKMuseum

Official Blog of the Chilliwack Museum and Archives

Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Back to School

Posted on: September 6th, 2016 by

Students of all ages have been packing up their school bags and heading out to school this week. This past month we’ve been getting ready for the school year as well by reviewing and updating our school programs. We offer programs with a local history twist that align with the BC Curriculum. If you’ve been booking with us for years or are new to the Chilliwack Museum and Archives school programs, we have some updates for you!

New this year:

Learning about changes in Technology over time with our Techno Quilt program.

Learning about changes in Technology over time with our Techno Quilt program.

Our Five Corners program has been adapted to fit with the Grade 1 and 2 Socials Curriculum and expanded to include more communities in Chilliwack. This program is now named ‘My Community’. When booking, teachers may choose a community focus for the presentation, Five Corners and Yarrow are currently available. We will be updating with more options as the school year progresses.

Our Full Steam Ahead program for Grades 4 and 5 has been updated with a new activity to help students learn more about the Cariboo Gold Rush and its impact on our own community.

Guided Exhibit Tours are available for all grades when our new temporary exhibit, Photography from Obscura to App, opens. As well, Guided Walking Tours of downtown Chilliwack will be available in May and June of 2017.

From October – May we will be offering a program for Grades 4+ based on our current exhibit, Photography from Obscura to App. This program takes students on a journey through the changes in photography over time and includes a hands-on activity.

Book online and learn more about our programs here.

Is there a specific local history topic you are interested in exploring with your students? You can always contact me with your questions or program requests at [email protected]

We’re looking forward to the 2016-2017 school year!

Summer at the Museum

Posted on: August 17th, 2016 by

By Kelsey Ablitt, Education and Engagement Assistant, Summer 2016

Its almost difficult to grasp that my time at the museum is coming to an end in just two short weeks. These past few months have been filled with new experiences and a lot of learning. I learned about the work that goes into running a museum, how to research at the archives, what education at a museum looks like, that elastic bands can be kept in the fridge and the best way to get a dew worm to move in a race.

 

Busy at Party in the Park, the theme was Community of Villages this week.

Busy at Party in the Park, the theme was Community of Villages this week.

One of my biggest projects this summer was to revamp the Discovery Bins. These bins were designed to be themed and filled with interactive things for children to play with. Initially, I didn’t think that sprucing up these bins would take nearly as much time or work as they ended up taking. As I took a look at the different material in them, I found myself coming up with new themes to organize them into, different artifacts to add to them and new interactive worksheets to make for them. This was easily my biggest and most time consuming task of the summer, however I can’t help but feel accomplished when I see kids enjoying the history and artifacts that the bins provide. Redoing these bins taught me about how things that may seem simple, actually had a lot of hard work put into them. Not only did I have to make sure my facts were correct and my themes relevant, I also had to constantly consider if they were kid friendly and that means being accessible to a wide age group. This means including things that toddlers or children just learning to read can interact with as well as something a bit more in-depth that will interest older children.

 

Another important aspect of my position this summer was helping with the different outreach events. Our main outreach event was Party in the Park, every Friday night in July. My job was to plan a craft for kids to do when they stopped by our booth. I desired to make the crafts relevant to the history of Chilliwack as much as I could. To do so, I chose a different theme from Chilliwack’s history to focus on for each Friday. To help share the historical love even more, I created a poster full of images and facts on the themes. I found these posters to be quite useful when kids were busy doing the crafts, as it gave parents something to read. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from outreach, its that your crafts need to be interesting but quick. There are usually lots to see and do at events like Party in the Park, therefore not only do the kids have a shorter attention span, their parent also does not want to be at the same booth for a long period of time.

 

Pretty in Pink, the things you find in a museum!

Pretty in Pink, the things you find in a museum!

In between the major tasks of this summer, my time was filled with many other little projects. I was able to sit in on meetings, give my input on the various goings on in the museum, help with school programs and much more. There was never a dull moment, I was always learning something new about the history of Chilliwack or what it takes to get a printer to print what you want (and in a timely fashion). Despite how thankful I am for all the things I have learned and the level of accomplishment I felt when finishing projects, my favourite part of the whole summer was the new friendships I have gained. The museum is filled with so many colourful and caring people, from the staff to the volunteers. I have loved getting to know the volunteers and seeing their interest in Chilliwack’s history. I have loved being able to get to know the staff and learn of the amazing things they have accomplished and all the exciting ideas they have for the museum, they are all extremely inspiring people. However, I cannot help being extremely thankful for Stephanie, she taught me something new nearly everyday and constantly encouraged me. She gave me freedom with creativity, she was extremely patient with me and was always there to give helpful input. The experience that Stephanie and the museum has provided me is something I will always be grateful for and I cannot wait to put what I have learned to use in the future.

To ‘do’ History

Posted on: July 19th, 2016 by

This past week I attended the Historical Thinking Summer Institute at the Museum of Vancouver. The course is intended for both museum professionals and teachers to explore The Big Six: Historical Thinking Concepts by Peter Seixas and Tom Morton. The book encompasses a shift in the way that museums and educators look at teaching and learning about history. In place of learning ‘the facts’ of history through textbook rote learning, students are being asked to ‘do’ history. This means actually acting as the historians themselves and constructing their understanding of history through the historical thinking concepts.

 
What are the Big Six?

Seeing historical thinking in action at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery in Steveston.

Seeing historical thinking in action at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery in Steveston.

Each of the concepts look at different aspects of constructing an history. They are Historical Significance, Evidence, Continuity and Change, Cause and Consequence, Historical Perspective and the Ethical Dimension.

 
Each concept has separate guideposts which illustrate how to work with them and also offer potential teaching strategies when approaching them with learners. All of the concepts work together to help learners begin to think like an historian. The interpretation of both primary and secondary sources (Evidence) is central to all of the concepts.

 
What does this have to do with museums?

 
Although historians and curators may use the historical thinking concepts, the process and skills that are used to put histories, exhibits together have not always been transparent. By sharing this process and helping to teach others to ‘do’ history themselves, museums and archives can open their collections to further understandings and interesting collaborations with the communities they work with.

 
Embracing the historical thinking concepts

 
This past week was filled with inspiring conversations with both museum professionals and teachers alike. The potential (and need!) for collaborations amongst teachers, museums, universities and so on stood out. We have a common interest and passion for history education and there are many ways we can better work together.

Using low-tech and hi-tech teaching strategies for an exhibit based historical thinking game!

Using low-tech and hi-tech teaching strategies for an exhibit based historical thinking game!

As part of our course, we were asked to work in groups, to come up with ideas on how to encourage and incorporate the historical thinking concepts into our practice, whether in the classroom, for a museum program or as an exhibit. Our group took a game-based approach and came up with an exhibit based game which had students thinking critically about primary sources, historical significance and perspectives.

 
There are so many great ideas and ways to bring historical thinking into museums. Leaving this course left me feeling inspired and enthusiastic to bring these ideas into my work here.

 
You can check out some of the photos and thoughts shared at this year’s institute with #HTSI2016.

Summer Outreach and Events

Posted on: June 16th, 2016 by

Myself and our summer student, Kelsey, have been working hard to get ready for summer here at the museum and out in the community. We’re looking forward to taking part in Canada Day celebrations as well as Party in the Park with the Downtown Chilliwack BIA.

Kelsey poses with one of our new Discovery Bins. Come visit to find out what's inside!

Kelsey poses with one of our new Discovery Bins. Come visit to find out what’s inside!

Getting out into the community and taking part in events is important to us as we seek to share our community’s history! This year we’re focusing on bringing fun hands-on activities to these events that will help tell the story of our past for both young and old alike.

 
Each Party in the Park night we’ll be focusing on a different topic that relates to Chilliwack’s history. Join us at our tent to learn more about Chilliwack and check out our selection of local history books, including the recently re-published Chilliwack Story.

 
We’re also planning to bring the fun inside the museum with our updated Discovery Bins. Each bin contains hands-on objects and activities on specific topics to explore. We’ll be highlighting the bins with activities each week of the summer – find out what’s happening here!

 
As we get closer to the final few months of our exhibit Game On! The Evolution of Sports in Chilliwack, we’ll be inviting families to join us on July 30th for a Family Fun Day at the museum including tours, sports activities, games, prizes and more! We hope to see you there!

The Perfect Combination of History and Education

Posted on: June 1st, 2016 by

Being fairly new to the museum community, my first month as the Education and Engagement Assistant has been full of learning. Not only am I learning more about Chilliwack’s history and our current exhibits, I am learning about a new career possibility.

 

The Chilliwack Museum and Archives snapchat code.

The Chilliwack Museum and Archives snapchat code.

For as long as I can remember, my goal has been to become an elementary school teacher. I enjoy working with kids and I love helping people learn. I am currently working towards a history major at the University of the Fraser Valley. However, as I get closer to finishing my degree, I worry that I won’t be able to embrace history in an elementary classroom as much as I would like. With little interest in teaching middle and secondary grades, I’ve found myself wondering what other job possibilities there are that embrace both education and history. Working along side the Education and Engagement Coordinator has been extremely helpful in teaching me about an amazing career option. Not only does this position let you dive into history, it also provides the opportunity to work with children through the various school programs offered at the museum.

 
In my first month here, I’ve had the opportunity to take part in many of the different aspects of the position. I’ve helped facilitate some of the school programs, both here at the museum and at the schools. I’ve also participated in several meetings with teachers about an exciting new local history kits project. These meetings are one of my favourite things I’ve been able to take part in. Being able to see and give input on a collaboration between the museum and the teachers is wonderful. It’s made me aware of the various things I could do as a future teacher along with the museum.

 

Gathering supplies for the Discovery Cupboard update!

Gathering supplies for the Discovery Cupboard update!

I’ve also been able to take part in my own projects, such as creating a museum snapchat (CHWKmuseum). After seeing that various other museums had successful snapchats, such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, I was inspired to create one, hoping to use it as a fun way to interact with the younger generations. The main project I’ve been working on over the past month was updating and revamping our Discovery Cupboard. The Discovery Cupboard is an important part of our museum, as it is designed to provide engaging and hands on bins for kids. I have been working hard to reorganize the content of the bins and have more guided activities in them as well. Be sure to keep up to date with the museum as we will be hosting crafts throughout July and August to highlight our newly updated Discovery Cupboard.

 
Overall, my first month at the museum has been full of exciting projects, experiences and learning about different career options that combine both history and education. I’m excited to see what more projects and experiences are to come for the rest of the summer.

 

Kelsey Ablitt, Education and Engagement Assistant

Sparking Conversations

Posted on: March 30th, 2016 by

Tomorrow evening we are welcoming viaSport BC to the museum along with four female panelists for our Game On! Women in Sport event. As our archivist mentioned in a previous blog post, this is somewhat of an unusual event for the museum. Yet these types of events are very relevant to the work of museums today.

The_Chilliwack_Progress_Thu__Nov_1__1928_

One of the newspaper clippings I found while searching for articles covering women in sports. Chilliwack Progress Newspaper Clipping, November 1, 1928 page 8.

 
I’m very excited that we were able to make the connection with viaSport to host such a great event for our community. History is a living part of who we are, it has shaped the way we live, how we communicate with each other, and even how we go forward into the future. Understanding our past helps us better understand our present, in order to better shape the future. This is exactly what Game On! Women in Sport is all about. We’ll be shining a light on the achievements of women athletes in the past, looking at how far women have come in sports today and talking about goals and dreams for women in sport in the future. What would this event look like 50 years from now? What memorabilia, stories, artifacts, newspaper articles would tell the story of women in sport then?

 
Hosting an event like this inevitably sparks interesting conversation, even before the event has occurred. Over the last few weeks, I’ve had great conversations about not only women in sports but the history of sports in general with museum volunteers, journalists, athletes and so on. I’ve learned about style guides for journalists which describe appropriate language for writing about women athletes, I’ve heard stories of frustration when facing sexism in the sports world, and I’ve learned a lot about the importance of leveling the field in sports from our viaSport partners.

 
As I go forward with planning for the next year of events here at the museum, I’ll look to find opportunities like this one to build on the stories our exhibits start to tell and to spark conversations which are relevant not only today but for the future as well. History is not only important to learn about in order to understand our past, but it helps inform our actions as we look towards the future.

 

Thomas Hooper, Architect

Posted on: March 5th, 2016 by

Heritage Week FINAL2

Despite it being a rainy night in Chilliwack, on Friday February 19th the Chambers Gallery here at the Museum was filled with a capacity crowd – excited to hear Donald Luxton’s Heritage Week presentation, “Thomas Hooper, Architect.”

Hooper is best known here as the architect responsible for designing and building the 1912 Chilliwack City Hall (a designated National Historic Site of Canada), which now houses our Museum.

Vancouver-based heritage consultant and architectural historian Donald Luxton has spent more than thirty years researching Hooper’s life and work, who in the early 20th century ran the largest and most successful architectural practice in western Canada.

We were honoured to welcome Don back to the Chilliwack Museum and Archives for this enjoyable and educational evening, connecting people with Chilliwack’s history.

Donald Luxton kept the audience on the edge of their seat with his dynamic talk abou the life and work of Thomas Hooper.

Donald Luxton kept the audience on the edge of their seat with his dynamic talk showcasing the life and work of Thomas Hooper.

If you missed the presentation, you can check out an audio recording of it, accompanied by some images, on our YouTube site

 

The Local Connection

Posted on: January 20th, 2016 by
Bytown Museum

In front of the Bytown Museum after a skate on the Rideau Canal, construction of which was supervised by Colonel By himself.

A number of years ago I worked at the Bytown Museum in Ottawa, a local history museum much like the Chilliwack Museum. As a native Ottawan, I enjoyed being surrounded by my city’s history; I learned more about the growth of ‘Bytown’, which later became Ottawa, than I had in all my years of schooling in the city. Much of Ottawa’s history involved the once very affluent lumber industry and a whole floor of the museum was dedicated to sharing this story. I knew that many of my ancestors had been involved in lumber along the Ottawa River. Learning more about this history gave me a strong sense of place and helped me connect with my family’s part in Ottawa’s story.

Place-based Learning

Place-based learning wasn’t very common when I went through the Ontario curriculum. Educator’s, more and more, are recognizing the importance of learning about and through the place where you live – whether it is studying the surrounding countryside for science and geography classes or learning about local history in social studies. Making connections to ‘the local’ is an important aspect of learning in today’s schools.

Curriculum

Part of the Christmas Program set-up. This is where I made countless mashed potato candies this past Christmas.

Part of the Christmas Program set-up. This is where I made countless mashed potato candies this past Christmas.

The new BC Curriculum reflects this. A quick search for the word ‘local’ in the new online curriculum brings up hits at all grade levels. As a local history museum, we have a unique opportunity to support Chilliwack’s schools as they adapt to this new curriculum. Our Christmas program, which has become somewhat of a tradition with many Chilliwack schools, has been sharing local stories with school children for years. This past Christmas, I was able to offer the program again and not only shared some interesting and fun stories with over 400 children, teachers and adults, but learned more about Chilliwack along the way. Quite often a name or picture would spark someone’s memory about a place or person they knew. This is why place-based learning is so effective, it offers a chance for learners and teachers to take part in an exchange of knowledge, learning together and using the place where they live as common ground.

Making Connections

Continuing to bring place-based learning into school programming while connecting to the new curriculum will be an important part of our future programs. But learning about the place where you live doesn’t have to just happen in school. If you’re like me, learning your city’s history can be just as meaningful and important as an adult. Connecting with your local museum is one way to unlock some of those hidden secrets about your city’s past.

What’s New for 2016?

Posted on: December 2nd, 2015 by
Sharing the history of hops production in the area at the BC Hop Fest 2015.

Sharing the history of local hops production at the BC Hop Fest 2015.

It’s been just over two months since I arrived at the Chilliwack Museum and Archives. I’ve been digging through the files of my predecessor, long time museum educator Brenda Paterson, learning about the museums past programming and starting to develop new ideas.

When planning a new program, it’s always important to ask why.  Why is a city museum an important place for its residents? How can it be a valuable place of learning and community building? As a new resident to Chilliwack, the museum has been an invaluable place for me to learn about my new community. On my second weekend here, I represented the museum at the BC Hop Fest to share the local history of hops. The people I met and the stories visitors shared helped me start building a sense of my new home.

A city’s museum is a place to hear local stories and gain a sense of community where you live, whether you are new to Chilliwack or have lived here all of your life. My job is to help open the museum and archive’s doors a little wider, to share our collection and its stories and to invite you in to engage with our community’s history. Creating opportunities like those at the BC Hop Fest, to both share our knowledge of Chilliwack’s past and learn from your stories in return, is an important part of my work.

Panels from the 'Chilliwack's Great War at Home and Overseas' Exhibit on display for Remembrance Day 2015 in our Chambers Gallery.

Panels from the ‘Chilliwack’s Great War at Home and Overseas’ Exhibit on display for Remembrance Day 2015 in our Chambers Gallery.

What’s on the agenda for 2016?

We’re planning on opening our beautiful Chambers Gallery to use for a variety of programming based on our exhibits and current research. We would like to bring the museum into the community, exchanging stories and engaging with the public about Chilliwack’s history outside of our museum doors as well.

Programming for our newest exhibit, Game On! The Evolution of Sports in Chilliwack, is being developed for 2016. Our museum Calendar will be updated with what’s going on each month. Wondering what you can do at the museum with your family? Check our Family page – we’ll be updating this regularly with any special events and activities. Join us Dec. 21-23 for Christmas Crafts!

These are just some of our plans for the future at the Museum and Archives. I’m looking forward to continually building our programming to create an engaging and fun place of discovery and learning for all ages!

What would you like to see happening at the Chilliwack Museum and Archives? Have an idea for an event or program? Feel free to get in touch with me at [email protected]

Travelling Exhibit & Speakers’ Series – July 6th!

Posted on: June 19th, 2015 by

We got this blog started a few weeks back by kindling a vision for the Museum as a place of conversation in Chilliwack. I believe that our Museum can be a place where learning about our rich history informs the way we live in the present, as well as our dreams and plans for our community’s future. We’re thinking about The Place of the Museum in the City

Why don’t we get the ball rolling? The Chilliwack Museum & Archives is beginning a new Speakers’ Series – open to everyoneMonday July 6th, here at the Museum @ 7pm. This initial evening will feature a panel discussion which will respond to the question: “How can Museums relate to their communities in new ways?” To answer that question, we will take a look at the Species at Risk travelling exhibition, what goes into the creation of something like that, and what can learn from it. While our Museum focuses primarily on human history, we still have a lot to learn from the incredible natural cultures surrounding us – flora and fauna. Featured panelists will include:

  • Dr. Gavin Hanke, Curator, Vertebrate Zoology, Royal BC Museum;
  • Janet Hutchinson, Executive Director, Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve;
  • John Martin, Member of the Legislative Assembly, Chilliwack;
  • Yours truly, Matthew Francis, Executive Director, Chilliwack Museum & Archives.

A while back I got a call from Chis O’Connor from the Learning Department at the Royal BC Museum – that great place of wonder inspiration in Victoria. Did you visit there as a kid on a school trip, or with your family? Maybe you have enjoyed it many times throughout your life. Chris let me know that their Museum was planning a travelling exhibition on Species at Riskand they were hoping to stop in Chilliwack. Would we be interested in partnering with them to showcase Species at Risk in Chilliwack. For sure! So, for one day only – July 6th – you will have three unique opportunities to experience this informative Royal BC Museum Exhibition here in our city! All these events are free of charge, and open to all. 

  • July 6th, from 10:00am-12:00 Noon the Species at Risk Exhibition will be located at Hillkeep Regional Park – a pristine wilderness area perched atop Chilliwack Mountain. Never been to this amazing park? This is a great opportunity to check it out and enjoy the lush vegetation and birdsong. I’d like to the Fraser Valley Regional District for making this part of the day possible!
  • July 6th, from 1:00pm-4:00pmSpecies at Risk will be at the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve.
  • July 6th, 7:00pmSpecies at Risk will be showcased in The Place of the Museum in the City Speaker’s series here at the Chilliwack Museum.

Bring your family and friends to see Species at Risk, and experience the Chilliwack Museum as place of learning and fun.

Any questions? Send me a note any time at [email protected]