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Official Blog of the Chilliwack Museum and Archives

Archive for the ‘Museology’ Category

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

Posted on: May 3rd, 2017 by Matthew Francis

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. 

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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].

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.

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