Learning, Connection and Fun


Official Blog of the Chilliwack Museum and Archives

Archive for the ‘Press Releases’ Category

(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. 



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. 

A Century of Remembrance – Piper James C. Richardson VC

Posted on: September 30th, 2016 by
All are welcome to attend the Centennial Commemoration for Piper James C. Richardson VC, October 8th.

All are welcome to attend the Centennial Commemoration for Piper James C. Richardson VC, October 8th, 2016. 

The pipes are coming “home!” – Piper James C. Richardson’s bagpipes, lost a century ago on the battlefield, will be on display during the Centennial Commemoration at the Chilliwack Museum. 

On Saturday, October 8th, 2016, the Chilliwack Museum and Archives will host an event to commemorate the centennial of the valorous death in battle at the Somme of Piper James Cleland Richardson VC. The day will mark one hundred years since Piper Richardson courageously gave in life in service at Regina Trench. The day also marks the 13th anniversary of the dedication of the statue of Piper Richardson on the Museum grounds, and the 10th anniversary of the repatriation of his bagpipes to Canada from Scotland.

At 12:30pm, while guests are arriving, musical selections will be performed by the Chilliwack Harmony Chorus.

The program will begin promptly at 1:00pm, and the public is invited to attend.

The Commanding Officer of the Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s) has confirmed his attendance, together with members of his Pipe Major and other guests. Royal Canadian Legion #4 will form the Colour Party, and members of RCL#280 are also cordially invited. Dress with medals is requested. Other members of the Richardson family have been invited, along with local dignitaries.

We are asking attendees to gather at the Museum grounds near the Piper Richardson monument – 45820 Spadina Avenue in Chilliwack – at 12:30pm. Limited seating for invited guests and seniors will be available, but will generally be standing room only. Following the ceremony, a reception will take place in the Chambers Gallery at the Museum, to which all are invited.

Through the courtesy of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, and the Speaker of the House, the Honourable Linda Reid, the bagpipes belonging to Piper James Richardson, which were recovered from the battlefield at Regina Trench, will be temporarily on display in the Chilliwack Museum, following the event. These pipes are part of the permanent collection of the Legislative Assembly. We are grateful to Mayor Sharon Gaetz, and Mr. Laurie Throness, MLA, for their assistance in facilitating the loan to Chilliwack of this significant Canadian artifact. James Richardson’s historic “home” pipes, which he played prior  to deployment overseas, will also be present, and will be played during the ceremony.

This will be a dignified event that will honour one of Canada and Chilliwack’s true heroes. Please join us! 


Free Museum and Archives Memberships for Newcomers to Chilliwack!

Posted on: July 4th, 2016 by

Our vision here at the Chilliwack Museum and Archives is to “connect people with Chilliwack’s history.” We do this in many ways – through exhibits, publications, programs for students and the public, interaction online, and through various media. Now, the Chilliwack Museum and Archives are opening our doors wide, offering one-year memberships free of charge to all those who have made Chilliwack their home over the past twelve months.

kids at museum 13 DSC_0473

We know that many people are moving to Chilliwack and making this community their home. Sometimes when you arrive in a new place, it takes some time to get your bearings and feel “settled.” Many folks are relocating because Chilliwack is more affordable than greater Vancouver, and Chilliwack has great schools, abundant recreation, and friendly people. Some courageous people have made a new life here in Canada after having to leave everything behind in their homelands due to war and uncertainty.

Wherever you have come from – Sicamous or Sierra Leone, Surrey or Syria – you are welcome here! The Chilliwack Museum and Archives are yours to discover. Approximately 1400 newcomers made Chilliwack home last year, and that trend is likely to continue. We would like the Museum and Archives to be a place of connection where people can learn about the city – with its diverse stories, people, and experiences. Chilliwack is a community of villages – with each distinct area having its own unique character. From Rosedale to Yarrow and each neighbourhood in between, Chilliwack has a rich history that is worth exploring. You can do that here at the Museum and Archives.

Providing a membership opens an opportunity for people new to Chilliwack to take in our current exhibit Game On! The Evolution of Sports in Chilliwack or to experience our upcoming exhibit, opening in September – Photography: From Obscura to App.

All those who have settled in Chilliwack within the past twelve months are invited to come into the Museum, located in the historic Chilliwack City Hall National Historic Site (45820 Spadina Avenue), to claim their complimentary one-year membership. Alternatively, newcomers to the city can also sign up online at: http://www.chilliwackmuseum.ca/join-support/membership/, using the promotional code “chwk1957.” Membership gets you free admission to the Museum, as well as discounts on select products and services.

Membership Card-1

For more information, please feel free to contact me, Matthew Francis, any time at (604) 795-5210, or better yet – come by the Museum and say hello. 

New Museum & Archives Trustee Has Deep Chilliwack Roots

Posted on: December 11th, 2015 by

The Trustees of the Chilliwack Museum and Historical Society are pleased to announce the appointment of Vivian Walker, a Life Member of the Society, as its newest Board Member. The Board may appoint members of the Society in good standing as Trustees to contribute to the work of the organization, or they may be elected by the membership at its Annual General Meeting.

2014-Chilliwack Museum Logo web

The Museum has come a long way since its permanent collection was assembled in 1958, when the first Chilliwack Museum opened in a room in the local police station. The founders of the historical society had deep roots in the community. Brothers Oliver Wells and Casey Wells were the grandsons of A.C. Wells who settled on a farm in Sardis in 1865. As amateur historians and anthropologists they left us with our foundation collection, biographies of early settlers, interviews with Sto:lo elders, oral histories from a wide variety of people and much more.

Vivian Evans Walker was born in Chilliwack and grew up as the 5th generation to live on the Evans Farm off Yale Road West. She was surrounded by history, from the old Evans log cabin (thought to be built by Royal Engineers in the early 1860s) to the 1888 horse barn, to routinely finding arrowheads as a child while walking the back part of the farm along Atchelitz Creek. Her father, John Evans, was one of the early leaders in the Historical Society’s quest to build a Museum in Chilliwack, working alongside the Wells Brothers. Vivian’s keen interest in learning about local history, however, was spurred by the locally-developed history course “GB11,” taught by Birch van Horne at Chilliwack Senior in the early 1970s.

Vivian Walker, shown supporting the good ole' Vancouver Canucks, is the newest addition to the Chilliwack Museum & Historical Societies Board of Trustees. She is a real "champion" of local history!

Vivian Walker, shown supporting the good ole’ Vancouver Canucks, is the newest addition to the Chilliwack Museum & Historical Societies Board of Trustees. She is a real “champion” of local history!

After graduating from UBC, Vivian and her husband Tom lived in many parts of North America and are happy to back in the Lower Mainland. Their two sons, alas, live in Waterloo and Montreal. After a career spent as a library technician, she now works full-time for the Vancouver Public Library Foundation in fundraising and is completing her Associate Certificate in Fundraising Management at BCIT.

Vivian is a champion of Chilliwack’s history, and a strong a supporter of heritage education. The Museum & Archives is delighted to welcome her service to our community.

The “Peppering” Traveling Baseball Team

Posted on: August 6th, 2015 by

While completely losing myself in sports-related research for our upcoming Game On! The Evolution of Sports exhibit, I have come across a few gems. One such gem was the discovery of a traveling baseball team called the “House of David”.

The Israelite House of David was established as a religious community in Benton Harbor, Michigan, in 1903 by Benjamin Purnell, along with his wife Mary. The purpose of this colony was to gather the 12 lost tribes of Israel for the “Ingathering”, to await the Millennium. Benjamin Purnell, a sports enthusiastast, encouraged the playing of sports. The House of David started playing baseball around 1913 as a weekend endeavor and by 1915 the team was playing a more grueling schedule. By 1920, the team was “barnstorming” around the country, earning money for the colony, and using the team as a way to preach to potential members. While the team was on the road, the colony established a home team, a girl’s team, and a junior boys team. The players were led by its manager, Francis Thorpe and the team was originally comprised of members of the colony. The team was always an attraction by their long hair and beards, a doctrine of the religion, and would draw substantial crowds wherever they played. By the early 20’s, in need of participate with better playing abilities and by the lack of colony member participation, were in the business of hiring players not of the faith. These “Players for Hire” were required to grow a beard, and some played for the team for many years.

After a lengthy legal battle and subsequent death of Purnell, an internal power struggle for the colony ensued. After this struggle, the colony divided into two separate factions, and eventually two separate colonies. One was the Israelite House of David, whose members believed that Benjamin was the one and only leader, which was led by colony pillar Judge H. T. Dewhirst. This colony went by the moniker of “The House of David”.

Both factions of the House of David teams visited small communities all over Canada and the United States. Different House of David teams visited Chilliwack many times throughout the 1930s, playing local teams at Chilliwack’s Athletic Park. The August 1, 1935 article of the Chilliwack Progress remarked “Chilliwack fans got a big bang out of the famous ‘pepper’ tricks,” which were said to be along the lines of the fancy basketball moves of today’s Harlem Globetrotters. Many of the Chilliwack games raised funds for the Chilliwack Amateur Athletic Association but also provided lots of entertainment for hundreds of spectators. At fifty cents, it was quite a good bargain (valued at under $9 if adjusted for inflation).

Don’t miss our upcoming exhibit Game On! The Evolution of Sports in Chilliwack, which opens October 29!