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Archive for the ‘Engagement’ Category

Moustache Moves in Movember

Posted on: November 22nd, 2017 by

In November (Movember), Mo Bros, supported by their Mo Sistas, grow out their moustache for 30 days to raise money and awareness for men’s health issues – particularly prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health awareness.  While some individuals rejoice at the opportunity to show off a moustache for 30 days, many young men spend Movember desperately trying to hide their moustache seemingly afraid of sporting such a style in 2017.  If you are one of these individuals, fear not.  Here are a few historic photographs of Chilliwack locals rocking a solid Mo.

 

 

Group portrait of Chief K’hhalserten Sepass family at Skowkale, P5571. [1912]

Group portrait of Chief K’hhalserten Sepass family at Skowkale, P5571. [1912]

Chief K’hhalserten (William Sepass) of Sq’ewqéyl was born circa 1845.  He was a respected and admired individual during a time of great disruption for his community. Chief K’hhalserten Sepass was forced to observed many changes in his community.  Re-settlers had moved into the valley and drastically changed the surrounding environment, reserves were established, and Euro-Canadian agriculture and labouring systems replaced traditional ways of living.  A first hand witness to these changes, Chief Khhalserten Sepass worked with Sophia White Street for four years translating songs from his community. The Sepass Poems: Songs of Y-Ail-Mihth, was eventually published by the Sepass Trust in 1963.  At the age of 98, Chief K’hhalserten Sepass died on March 23, 1943.  His lifetime of advocacy along with a reputation for fairness and wisdom remain as a legacy of his achievement and greatness.

 

 

 

 

Detailed view of David Richardson, P704. [1915]

Detailed view of David Richardson, P704. [1915]

David Richardson was born in Scotland in 1867.  In 1886 he joined the Lanarkshire Police and in 1891 he married Mary Prosser.  When Richardson immigrated his family to Canada he was a Police Inspector and Fire Chief for Rutherford District.  In 1913, David Richardson was granted the position of Chilliwack Chief of Police.  David and Mary Richardson eventually had 8 children, including James Cleland Richardson who received the Victoria Cross for rallying his company on October 8, 1916, during the Battle of the Somme.  In 1920, David Richardson retired from the police force and worked as a janitor at Chilliwack High School.  Active in many Chilliwack organizations, David Richardson passed away in February 1955.  Mary Richardson died in June 1956.

 

 

 

 

Looking for more great moustaches from Chilliwack’s past?  Here are a couple more individuals.

 

Portrait of Arlo Kipp, 2002.073.013. [ca. 1943]

Portrait of Arlo Kipp, 2002.073.013. [ca. 1943]

Arlo Kipp was the second of three children born to Wilfred Harvey and Winnifred (Baxter) Kipp.  He was the grandson of Chilliwack re-settler family Henry and Caroline Ann (Trenaman) Kipp.  Arlo served in the Canadian military during WWII.  After the war Arlo returned to Cultus Lake where he became the new secretary/manager of the Cultus Lake Park Board.  Additionally he served as postmaster from 1946 to 1973.  Arlo Kipp married Evelyn Pulford.  He passed away in 1984.

 

 

 

 

 

 

But wait… there’s more… 

 

Chilliwack Progress Press Photo: Francis Horne, 07 September 1977, page 29, 1999.029.179.002.

Chilliwack Progress Press Photo: Francis Horne, 07 September 1977, page 29, 1999.029.179.002.

Born in 1954, Francis Horne Sr. is a highly accomplished and respected self-taught carving artist.  At the time of this photograph in 1977, Francis was living near Chilliwack River Road at the Yeqwyeqwi:ws (Yakweakwioose) First Nation.  Francis Horne Sr. taught his son Francis Horne Jr. the art of carving.  Francis Horne Jr., a member of the Yaweakwioose First Nation is also an accomplished artist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately archival records are limited on the following  individual.  However, it is pretty hard to deny that he rocked a solid Mo.

 

Chilliwack Progress Press Photo: Hop Picker, unnumbered.

Chilliwack Progress Press Photo: Hop Picker, unnumbered.

Chilliwack has a rich history that includes many different communities and ethnic groups.  The photograph to the right depicts an unidentified hop picker rocking a solid moustache working in Chilliwack, BC.  Archival records indicate the photograph was probably taken in September, 1977 for a hop special written by the Progress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And Finally…

 

Archivist Tristan Evans on vacation with family, 12 November 2017. Photo Credit: Alexandra Renee

Archivist Tristan Evans on vacation with family, 12 November 2017. Photo Credit: Alexandra Renee

Archivist Tristan Evans on vacation with the family sporting a moustache for Movember.  Left to right: Tristan Evans, Chelsea Daughters, Brandon Evans.

The Case for Cases

Posted on: September 21st, 2017 by

Early in 1958, just after our organization was established – the Chilliwack Museum and Historical Society  President, Oliver Wells, did what all good Museum leaders do at some point: he sent out a fundraising letter.

SPOILER ALERT! That’s what this blog post is really about too

But why don’t we have some good ole’ historical fun while we’re at it, eh?

Oliver Wells serves as the founding Chairman of the Chilliwack Museum and Historical Society.

Oliver Wells served as the founding Chairman of the Chilliwack Museum and Historical Society.

In that letter, Mr. Wells made a very logical point:

“…we must be able to give assurance that [valuable historical material] will be safely stored and displayed.” 

Oliver Wells fundraising letter, Feb. 1958.

Oliver Wells fundraising letter, February, 1958.

Some things have not changed. Then, as now, this is still one of the most basic principles of preservation and conservation. Museums have a responsibility to care for their collections. We have been doing just that here in Chilliwack for sixty years.

The Chilliwack Museum and Archives cares for: 

  • Over one million items in our Archival records, including hundreds of thousands of photographic images. Our Archives are a trusted repository, well-respected by historians and researchers;
  • Over ten thousand historic objects – also known as artifacts or belongings, each one shedding light upon a unique person, place, memory, or moment that matters to Chilliwack – to you.

Did you know, however, that less than 1% of our collection is exhibited at any given time? Why?

  • For starters, there just isn’t enough gallery space in our National Historic Site Museum building to exhibit too much more of the collection in a way that ensure artifact conservation, AND;
  • The existing cases that we have were not purpose-built for the task of displaying many of the more vulnerable objects from our collections.

From the late 1950s until now, our skilled and creative professional staff have done their very best, working with the kinds of exhibit cases that we have had available. Many of these have been greatly appreciated hand-me-downs, cascaded to us from other institutions, such as the Museum of Vancouver.

In other cases, we have had cases purpose-built for our exhibitions by local carpenters – with plywood structure, plinths and plexi-glass. They look pretty good, and do a serviceable job of presenting your historic objects (which we steward for the public good).

The cases we have, however, are not built to last forever, and do not fully achieve the kinds of conservation standards that Chilliwack’s significant material culture truly deserves. They don’t have the kinds of security features we expect today, such as hidden cam-locks, and they don’t offer the same level of environmental protection (from such factors as UV light, moisture, pests, contact) to ensure fragile and precious materials are safeguarded for future generations.

Back in 2011, when the Archives facility was expanded at Evergreen Hall, you helped us to acquire high-quality, rolling, shelving. This shelving, however, is intended for storage, and not for exhibition purposes.

In short: we need new exhibit cases – yesterday

Thanks to the support of the Government of Canada’s Canadian Cultural Spaces Program, the City of Chilliwack, and the Chilliwack Foundation – all of which provided significant grants – our need is being met!

The new cases are expected to arrive in late October, and our exhibits will transition into them, with our next exhibit opening into them in early November, 2017.

The Chilliwack Museum and Archives will soon have the highest quality, Canadian-made exhibit cases, which will strengthen our curatorial program for decades to come.  Custom-constructed to meet our local needs by the highly regarded Zone Display Cases, nineteen (19!) new exhibit cases will give us tremendous flexibility to show you more of our rich collections.

Best of all, many of these units are completely modular, allowing for set-up in a broad range of different ways, allowing for versatility. You will be able to connect with your history in an amazing new way! 

So now, following in Mr. Well’s footsteps, I’m going to let you all know…

2015-07-francis

We need your help!

The total cost for 19 cases is $142, 000, and that is the largest purchase that the Chilliwack Museum and Historical Society has ever made. While we have raised over $100, 000 to date, we still need to raise just over $30, 000 in 2017 to complete the exhibit case project. Will you partner with us?

If you’d like to give to honour or in memory of someone special, recognition opportunities are available. 

Thank you for the amazing generosity of those caring individuals and Chilliwack businesses that have already contributed.

No gift is too small – every contribution makes a difference! 

For all the details, you can check out our Chilliwack Museum 60th Annivesary – Case Renewal Legacy Project.

How to give?

  1. Make your gift easily and securely ONLINE through our Chilliwack Museum and Archives Canada Helps Page:
  1. By Mail…

Send your cheque to:

Chilliwack Museum and Archives

45820 Spadina Avenue

Chilliwack, BC, V2P 1T3

  1. By Phone – Give us a call!

Our phone number is (604) 795-5210.

  1. In Person

Drop by the Museum during opening hours.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me, Matthew Francis, Executive Director, any time. 

Getting Ready for the 2017-2018 School Year

Posted on: September 6th, 2017 by

It seems like the school year just ended and we were getting ready for our summer programming only days ago, but here we are again with another year of school upon us! Aligning with the new BC Curriculum, we’re excited to be able to offer a variety of programs and resources that help teachers bring relevant local content into their classrooms.

What’s New?

Chilliwack's Chinatowns Kit

Chilliwack’s Chinatowns Kit

Our local history kits, created in collaboration with SD33 teachers, are currently available to book. We have two kits, with a third expected in late 2017.

  • Explore Chilliwack’s two lost Chinatowns with our Chilliwack’s Chinatowns kit, containing primary source reproductions, lesson plans and supplementary resources for your class. This kit is recommended for Grades 1-6, however the primary sources can be adapted for use with a variety of grades. Follow up your exploration of the kit with an exhibit tour of Gold Mountain Dream, exhibit open until Oct. 9th.
  • New this year is our Community of Villages kit. Recommended for Grades 6+, this kit contains 10-12 reproductions for each of five unique communities in Chilliwack: Downtown Chilliwack, Rosedale, Greendale, Yarrow, and Sardis/Vedder. Teach primary source analysis skills with this kit while introducing the historical thinking concept of continuity and change.
  • Currently under development is our ‘Flooding Chilliwack’ kit. This kit focuses on major floods in Chilliwack which have changed the surrounding area into what we know today. Stay tuned for further details!

Starting this week, our school programs are available to book online or by phone at 604-795-5210.

  • Our popular My Community program for Grades 1 and 2 has two new community options available. Learn about key developments and events in your local area with options to focus on Downtown Chilliwack, Sardis, Yarrow or Greendale.
  • Guided Exhibit Tours are available throughout the year. Our current exhibit, Gold Mountain Dream, focuses on Chinese immigration during the gold rush and contains local content on Chilliwack’s lost Chinatowns. Gold Mountain Dream closes Oct. 9th and our new exhibit will open Nov. 2nd.
  •  Back by popular demand is our Family Christmas program. Explore what it would have been like to celebrate Christmas in Chilliwack in the late 1800’s with hands-on activities.

Browse our 2017-2018 school program brochure here and book online!

Can’t find a program that fits your needs? If there is a specific local history topic you are interested in exploring with your students, you can always contact me with your program requests and questions at [email protected]

(Museum) Membership has its privileges!

Posted on: August 22nd, 2017 by

Membership Card-1Who remembers the popular credit card commercial, “Membership has its privileges“? It was a catchy line that made that little plastic rectangle feel like a badge of honour, a special club you wanted to be a part of.

Membership does mean something. It can mean quite a lot, in fact. But history shows us that participation in membership-based organizations in Canada is changing and morphing quite a bit these days.

Trends show that membership-based organizations – particularly service clubs and other voluntary societies – have been steadily declining over the past 40 years. Across the same period, it’s interesting to note that both attendance and membership in history museums, art galleries, and recreational sports groups has been on the rise.

In 2017, the Canadian Museum Association reports that “Canada’s museums:

  • employ over 24,000 people across the country and are
  • supported by more than 55,000 volunteers,
  • and 300,000 “Friends,” or “officially-signed-up members.” 

Membership is an indication of commitment to museums and says that you care about their future.”

And, from those numbers, it’s clear that Canadians love their Museums and have significant connections to them.

Our vision is to connect people with Chilliwack’s history.

If you believe in that vision, the best way that you can put that desire into action is by becoming a member.

A few times over the past 60 years of our history, the Chilliwack Museum and Historical Society has undertaken membership drives to boost our ranks and strengthen the support of our vision. Our City caught on to the vision, and joined in droves. Of course, in those days, an annual Membership membership was a whopping two-dollar bill (those were pre-“Toonie” days).

Story from The Chilliwack Progress, Wednesday, April 18, 1984.

Story from The Chilliwack Progress, Wednesday, April 18, 1984.

In the mid 1980s, when we were campaigning to take on Chilliwack’s historic City Hall as a new home for the Museum, we successfully recruited 1, 912 members, in honour of the construction of City Hall by Thomas Hooper in 1912.

Story from The Chilliwack Progress, on the 1000th member of the Chilliwack Museum and Historical Society, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 1987.

Story from The Chilliwack Progress, on the 1000th member of the Chilliwack Museum and Historical Society, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 1987.

This year, to mark our 60th Anniversary, we have the goal of signing up 60 NEW LIFE MEMBERS before the end of 2017. A Life Membership may cost a little more “up front” than an Annual Museum and Archives Membership, but, as they say, “membership has its privileges.” If you’ve been an annual member for a while, why not “upgrade” to a LIFE MEMBERSHIP? You’ll never have to worry about renewing again!

Members receive:

  • Free Museum admission for themselves and their guests
  • Discounts on historic photo orders from the Archives
  • Discounts on event rentals
  • Discounts on Gift Shop purchases
  • Personal invitation to openings, programs, and special events. 

You can check out all the membership benefits on our website. Of course, if its not the right time for you to become a LIFE MEMBER, then one of our other membership categories is sure to fit your lifestyle. You can even join as a Teacher or Business, and get great perks for your class or employees. Signing up online is easy, or you can come into the Museum any time to activate your membership.

Plus – if you are a newcomer to Chilliwack – having moved here within the last 12 months – your first year’s membership is always FREE! Come on into the Museum or give us a call for details! 

And, as a special bonus, each new Life Member that joins in 2017, will receive as our gift, a copy of our classic book, The Chilliwack Story. Keep this richly illustrated coffee table book, or pass it on to a friend or family member – you can guarantee it will be cherished!

Come and join us as we connect people with Chilliwack’s history – become a member today. 

 

 

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

Posted on: July 26th, 2017 by

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

Something Completely Different

Posted on: July 19th, 2017 by

And now for something completely different!

One of the things I most love about running summer family drop-ins is the flexibility they offer visiting families. It’s interesting watching a simple concept we decide to focus on for a week become something completely different when the variety of voices that join in change and adapt it.

Cardboard Chilliwack Museum.

Cardboard Chilliwack Museum.

For the past two weeks we took over our upstairs programming room (we call it the Chambers Gallery as it’s the room where city council used to sit when this building was city hall) and transformed it into a cardboard City of Chilliwack. It was a simple idea, we’d map out an area around five corners, including some of the historic buildings in (roughly) the correct space. The rest we’d leave open, setting up tables of craft supplies for inspiration and creation stations for our visiting city builders.

Sometimes all you need to do is provide a small spark for inspiration and the creativity follows. We didn’t try to create an accurate representation of five corners from any one era, but let our city builders (visiting families and children) decide what the city needed. Some of the buildings were recognizable, staples of downtown like The Bookman, complete with Nietzsche watching in the window, Sticky’s candy and even a “Boozeny’s” (Bozzini’s). But other additions were wishful like the two cupcake factories that popped up and the house that opened up to the front door of Sticky’s. By the end of the two weeks of cardboard city we had connected (pipecleaner) power, streets filled with interesting businesses and people scattered throughout.

Is this all silliness?

Well yes, but maybe not all silliness. This is an informal learning environment – we had an idea of what might be learned from co-creating a cardboard city with our visitors, but there was lots of room for new discoveries. Not only did our visitors pick up on the few historic buildings we put in place beforehand and wonder about their history, but they were inspired to add something that they wanted to see in the city too. Ok, so maybe two cupcake factories is a little unrealistic, but what if we were inspired by our (real) city in the same way our visitors were by the cardboard city?

Cardboard BC Electric Railway Station.

Cardboard BC Electric Railway Station.

As our cardboard city grew and changed over the two weeks it was interesting to hear some of the conversations it sparked and listen to the enthusiasm of visitors. I’ll leave you with the words of one of our more reluctant city builders when he first saw the city, “Ok, this is pretty cool.”

 

While cardboard city may be over, we’re still offering a great line-up of activities throughout the summer. Check out our Summer Family Drop-in schedule!

Summer Outreach and Activities

Posted on: June 14th, 2017 by

This past weekend we were at Cultus Lake for our first summer outreach event. We had a great time sharing information about the museum and archives, chatting about Cultus Lake history with visitors and playing our ‘match the date’ game with historic photographs. Its days like these that remind me how important and meaningful our work is to the community. Hearing phrases like “that was fun!”, seeing our displays spark multi-generational conversations and watching them prompt a group of long-time Cultus residents to reminisce about the past make all the office work in between worth it!

It’s been a busy spring, with hosting the BCHF Conference and our 60th Anniversary celebration this May, but we’re not slowing down for summer!

What’s On

Our tent at Cultus Lake Day 2017

Our tent at Cultus Lake Day 2017

In addition to heading out to events like Canada Day, Party in the Park and the Garrison Village Festival, we’ll be hosting a number of events and activities here in the museum.

Author Shelley O’Callaghan will be here on June 22nd for a talk on her book How Deep is the Lake: A Century at Chilliwack Lake. We’re also opening a new exhibit Gold Mountain Dream on June 29th which we are in the midst of installing as I type!

For July and August we’re hosting Family Drop-in Activities on Tuesdays and Thursdays focusing on a different theme and activity each week. From July 3-14 we’ll be building a miniature cardboard Five Corners in the Chambers Gallery. Young and old alike are invited to come add your own buildings, cars, trees etc. to the landscape throughout the two weeks!

On July 15th, storyteller Shayna Jones will be joining us for a morning performance for families and we’ll be offering a special puppet making workshop after the performance.

 

We’re always working hard to share our resources with the community and to make Chilliwack’s diverse story accessible to all ages. We hope to see you over the summer either at the museum or around town at community events!

Getting ready for the 2017 BCHF Conference

Posted on: May 10th, 2017 by

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!

New Curator’s work enriched by Fine Arts Background & Diverse Exhibitions Experience

Posted on: May 3rd, 2017 by

Recently our Executive Director, Matthew Francis, had the opportunity to catch up with Adrienne Rempel, who was recently hired to serve as Curator in a one-year temporary role, during our Curator Jane Lemke’s maternity leave. Here’s an opportunity to get to know more about Adrienne. 

——————————————————————————————————————————-

Hi Adrienne! You have been on the job as Curator here now for almost a month. How have you found your first few weeks?

Curator Adrienne Rempel in the Old Library of Trinity College Dublin—home to the Book of Kells.

Curator Adrienne Rempel in the Old Library of Trinity College Dublin—home to the Book of Kells.

 I have thoroughly enjoyed my first few weeks at the Museum and Archives. The staff and volunteers are incredibly committed and enthusiastic, and they possess a vast knowledge of local history. I am getting to know the Collection and its strengths, and am happily digging into the next round of exhibition programming.

 Before taking on this role, you had recently moved to Chilliwack from Vancouver. What are some of the things that attracted you to live in Chilliwack, and how have you found living in the community?

 Before I settled on Chilliwack, I left Vancouver for a five month backpacking trip in Europe. During this time, I found that while I enjoyed visiting large urban centres, I always felt more relaxed and comfortable in smaller communities. By the time I was nearing my return flight to Vancouver, I knew it was time for a change.

Curator Adrienne Rempel, in Barbarino Val d’Elsa in Tuscany (established in the 13th century and still boasting architecture from the 14th century!)

Curator Adrienne Rempel, in Barbarino Val d’Elsa in Tuscany (established in the 13th century and still boasting architecture from the 14th century!)

I was attracted to Chilliwack for its natural beauty and closeness to nature. It’s also close enough to the amenities of the Lower Mainland, without being in the centre of it. It doesn’t hurt that it came highly recommended by my partner who grew up here.

Immediately after moving to Chilliwack, I felt welcome in the community. People here take an active interest in each other, and are very supportive and friendly. I’ve also noticed there is a healthy amount of interest and growth in the Arts & Culture sector, which makes Chilliwack an exciting place to be!

 Can you share with us a little about your academic and professional background? What did you do before you started with us?

My background is in the Fine Arts. I have a degree from Emily Carr University of Art + Design where I studied painting and studio arts, and after graduation I participated in numerous group exhibitions in the lower mainland. During this time I also worked and volunteered with various cultural organizations in Vancouver. I’ve always been drawn to the cultural, not-for-profit sector, as it offers so many opportunities for community engagement and arts advocacy. In the last handful of years, I found myself working in the Curatorial Department of the Vancouver Art Gallery, where I assisted in the planning and production of exhibitions and publications.

 You have rich experience in the visual arts, and were involved in planning numerous exhibits each year for the Vancouver Art Gallery. What interested you in working in a Museum context with a focus on history? How do history and the arts relate?

 As much as I love the unquantifiable aspects of art, I am also a huge art history and cultural theory nerd. There’s a saying in the arts, “You can’t make art in a bubble.” What this means is that everyone is influenced to some degree by the context of their time, be it political, social, economic, etc. In art history, we learn that Jackson Pollock, for instance, became an influential figure in the abstract expressionist movement not only because of his unique drip paintings, but because of the particular socio-political conditions of Cold War America. To learn about art, you have to learn history as well. The two are very connected.

To take that idea into the museum context… I can accept that on a certain level, an art object is another form of material culture. One can look at any human-made object, from the first Fender Stratocaster, to an Etruscan vase, to a handmade roadsign, and start to wonder, “Why was this made?” Searching for that answer can be endlessly fascinating. I am a curious person, and the museum experience is a great way to learn about our world.

What are some of the things you are looking forward to in your work at the Chilliwack Museum and Archives this year?

 I am really excited for the upcoming exhibition program. This summer the CMA will launch an exhibition, Gold Mountain Dream, that explores the history of the first Chinese immigrants in British Columbia. This presentation will be in partnership with the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, and will include some very important locally developed content.

As I am new to the community, it has been a positive experience to dive into the region’s history. In the coming months, I look forward to developing my understanding of Chilliwack, and building connections in the community.

Thank you, Adrienne, for taking the time to talk with us. We are looking forward to a great year ahead! 

Adrienne Rempel, Curator, can be reached at (604) 795-5210 ext. 105 or by email at [email protected].

Chilliwack Museum and Historical Society Celebrates 60 Years!

Posted on: April 24th, 2017 by
Come celebrate with us! 60th Birthday Party - Saturday May 13th @ 1pm. Everyone's invited!

Come celebrate with us! The Chilliwack Museum and Archives’ 60th Birthday Party – Saturday May 13th @ 10am. Everyone’s invited!

Sixty years ago, in the Spring of 1957, a committed group of Chilliwack citizens gathered together at the Chilliwack Senior High School for the first official meeting of the Chilliwack Historical Society. They carried forward a dream which many people had shared since the early years of the 20th century – to establish a Museum to connect people to Chilliwack’s history. Through their hard work and determination, this object was soon realized with the opening of the Chilliwack Museum the following March.

The Minutes of the first General Meeting of the Historical Society, April 10, 1957.

The Minutes of the first General Meeting of the Historical Society, April 10, 1957.

This year – as Canada celebrates 150 years – the Chilliwack Museum and Historical Society is commemorating our own “Diamond Jubilee,” sixty years of connecting our community to the memories, moments, and people, and material culture that mean so much to us.

Throughout this 60th Anniversary year, we will be sharing the stories of the Museum’s founders, as well as many others over the years who have shaped the Museum and Archives. This includes such leaders as Oliver N. Wells and Chief Richard Malloway, as well as many others.

Together, they all form our collective story – one that is still being written and lived out today.

You are invited to be a part of this Chilliwack story! Come and join us Saturday May 13th at 10am, for a good old-fashioned community Birthday Party for the Chilliwack Museum and Archives!

  • Free Museum Admission for the Day
  • Festive treats and prizes 
  • Hear informative updates on the work of the Museum and Archives 
  • Become a member of the Chilliwack Museum and Historical Society. 

All are warmly welcome.

For more information contact Matthew Francis, Executive Director, Chilliwack Museum and Archives at [email protected] or (604) 795-5210 ext. 101.