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Official Blog of the Chilliwack Museum and Archives

Archive for the ‘Volunteers’ Category

The World of Volunteerism

Posted on: October 16th, 2019 by Tristan Evans

Written by Cari Moore – Coordinator of Volunteers and Administration

I often wonder why people want to volunteer – and why at the museum for that matter. What draws them in to wanting to give back to community? Are they new to our City and have a desire to meet new people? Do they just want to get out of the house and have nothing better to do? Could it be that they are passionate about our local history and feel that a museum experience is valuable to everyone young and old? When asked, one of our volunteers stated that she felt that Museums were of significance to a highly functioning society and that she wanted to do her part in keeping it open. Another volunteer and his wife were very interested in Genealogy and volunteered initially at our archives to do family research and have never left.

Whatever the reason, the way I look at volunteering has started to shift. It is no longer about filling a seat with a warm body. It is not about saving money, after all a great volunteer program should be cost effective but is not “free labour”. It is not about finding the ultimate volunteer that will be here for years to come. It is about finding the right fit for people, figuring out what their passions and skills are and then give them a space to blossom.  It is about relationships; connecting with people as coworkers and building a team who welcomes visitors and guests into our space and makes everyone feel at home. It is about sharing our local history and the amazing things that this city has to offer.

I have come to realize that volunteering needs to be something you want to do for you, for your community or the people around you. You need to find a place where you belong, that works around your schedule and utilizes your strengths. It can also be an experience that helps you grow, or allows you to try new things and learn new skills. Most importantly, volunteering needs to help you enjoy the special moments and feel appreciated for the little things you contribute. Volunteers need to know that what they do is important, to themselves, the agencies they work with, their customers or guests and society as a whole. The world of volunteerism is evolving and ever changing. We need to open our eyes to every possibility of engagement and embrace the support and resources that volunteers have to offer.

I am looking forward to the challenge, are you? Call 604.795.5210 or email [email protected]lliwackmuseum.ca to see if volunteering with us is the right fit for you!

Volunteer Spotlight – Ev Parker

Posted on: June 5th, 2019 by Tristan Evans

Are you curious to know what Chilliwack looked like in the 1980s?  Ask our volunteer Ev Parker who is currently processing a large collection of street photographs from the 1980s.  This is a unique collection that Ev is digitizing and describing so that you, the researcher, can access the images online.  To learn more about Ev and his work at the Archives, read his answers to the questions below:

Ev Parker
Photo courtesy of Ev Parker

When did you start volunteering at the Archives?

November 2015.

Why did you decide to volunteer for the Chilliwack Museum and Archives?

Being slightly familiar with Chilliwack, I enjoyed what the Museum and Archives had hidden within its walls and found it was beyond fascinating.  Some information I was familiar with previously but with a little searching, it became obvious a massive amount about Chilliwack was available to the public.  If people only knew what was available for public viewing, there would be far more people visiting the Archives.

What type of work do you perform when you are at the Archives? 

Data entry, scanning pictures and documents, looking up information, adjusting numbering systems when an item has been removed, dusting and vacuuming. When people that are familiar to me visit the Archives I try and make them feel comfortable.  I also visit with people I know when they come into my work space.   

Ev Parker
Photo courtesy of Ev Parker

Do you have a favourite memory at the Museum and Archives? 

Too many to itemize but just about every time I’m there Tristan or Anna will enlighten me with something I wasn’t aware of, making it more desirable to come back.

Is there anything else you would like to mention regarding your work at the Archives? 

It is really unbelievable how much information is there for ANYONE to have and to hold, read or use, for any purpose. 

Ev Parker volunteers every Wednesday morning at the Archives.  If the doors are not open by 9:01 AM, he’ll let you know.  We like to refer to this time as Ev’s office hours since he regularly receives visitors during this time period.  Sometimes, those visitors even stay to do a little research of their own!  Interested in knowing more about Chilliwack history?  Stop by on a Wednesday morning and we’ll be happy to show you how to search our records or just enjoy a short chat with our amazing volunteer, Ev Parker.    

Volunteer Spotlight – Lawrie Edwards

Posted on: April 26th, 2019 by Tristan Evans

Have you ever wondered how one archivist, one curator, and one archives technician have managed to describe and make available online 3,884 archival records, 1,169 library records, 9,880 object descriptions, and digitize 14,781 photographs all while doing the rest of the work keeping the Museum and Archives running?  The answer is simple really, we haven’t.  A huge amount of our descriptive material is done by Chilliwack volunteers who generously give their precise time week after week.

Lawrie Edwards at the Archives
January, 2015

Volunteers are quite literally the reason we have been able to describe and make available so much of our archival and object collection.  Volunteers research photographs, objects, and archival collections and then put in the hard, and not always exciting, work of entering descriptions for each collection.  The work is tedious and not immediately rewarding.  It is however the reason you are able to search and find so many online descriptions of our records.

Today I would like to highlight one volunteer who has been volunteering at the Archives since April, 2012.  Lawrie Edwards is a resident of Fairfield Island who moved to Chilliwack in the 1980s.  Lawrie volunteers every Friday morning and he is a huge part of the reason we have so many descriptions for our archival records.  I asked Lawrie today if he wouldn’t mind answering a couple questions and below is what he had to say:

Why did you decide to volunteer for the Chilliwack Museum and Archives?

I’ve always been interested in History.  After retirement I completed our Family tree back to the late 1700s in Wales.  My wife’s family on both sides settled in Chilliwack in the 1880s and so I decided to allocate a morning doing research of the Chilliwack area. 

What type of work do you perform when you are at the Archives? 

Mostly computer work, data description, and researching from the archives and through the archival Progress Papers.

Do you have a favourite memory at the Museum and Archives?

Every Friday morning is memorable but the 2017 British Columbia Historical Federation conference the Chilliwack Museum hosted was particularly memorable. 

Is there anything else you would like to mention regarding your work at the Archives?

Just nice to be associated with a great working crew at the Museum and Archives (No, I did not pay him to say that). 

Lawrie Edwards is an amazing volunteer.  He’s been dedicating his time for seven years at the Archives!!!  Once again, I’m going to borrow a phrase from my favourite podcast, The Secret Life of Canada, shout out to Lawrie Edwards!!!

Fresh Produce and Homemade Relish

Posted on: September 26th, 2018 by Tristan Evans

Kipp Family Packing Plums, ca. 1880s [2002.101.019]

One of my favourite features of Chilliwack is the large variety of produce stands in this city.  Whether you prefer large produce shops where you can buy all your fruits and vegetables such as Hofstede’s, Garrison Gourmet Greens, and Produce Gone Wild or you prefer seasonal drive-thru fruit stands, Chilliwack has them all.

 

With Chilliwack’s rich agricultural history, it may not surprise you to know that produce stands are not a new phenomenon.  The Kipp family used to sell boxes of plums from a small makeshift table in front of their house as early as the 1880s.  Many long time residents of Chilliwack may remember the Carter Family Fruit Stand on the Haas Hop Yard at Evans Road or Woo Farms Potato Drive-in at Chilliwack’s South Chinatown.  The most iconic produce stand in Chilliwack’s history might just be Christie’s Produce Stand.

Christie’s Service Station, 1936 [P7496]

 

 

James Christie and Caroline Runzer married in 1925 at the age of 38 and 25 respectively.  The relatively new immigrants to Canada opened a restaurant in Stony Plain, Alberta.  In 1935 a devastating fire destroyed their restaurant so the couple packed up shop and moved to Chilliwack. They purchased land on Yale Road West just south of Cheam Avenue near the gates of the City for $600.

 

Upon arrival in Chilliwack, James immediately built a Standard Oil gas station that contained the living quarters for the family and a small lunch counter.  The gas station was sold in 1939.  A newer Chevron station still operates at the same location as Christie’s gas station.  In a 2005 interview with the Chilliwack Progress, James and Caroline’s daughter Audrey Neufeld recalled how, “dad was quite an entrepreneur, he had all kinds of ideas, and he did it all right here.”  After selling the Standard Oil station, James and Caroline Christie built a new home to house their growing family just south of the gas station.

Christie’s Hot Dogs, ca. 1940s [P7497]

 

 

In front of the new house James built a small produce stand that also sold honey, ice cream, dill pickles, and hotdogs.  Just north of his produce stand James built a number of small commercial buildings that he leased out.  The hotdogs were served with a special relish made by Caroline.  She sourced her ingredients for the relish from her own garden.  Mrs. Caroline Christie’s famous hotdog relish recipe is available in a book, Chilliwack Pioneer Recipes.

 

Christie’s Hot Dog stand operated throughout the 1940s.  The family stopped selling hotdogs in the 1950s but kept Christie’s Farm Fresh Products open selling produce, honey, homemade dill pickles, candies, ice cream, tobacco, and camping supplies.  James and Caroline even began raising and selling chickens.  According to research by Sharon Lawrence, the family had 5000 chickens that were slaughtered, cleaned, and cooked.  They were used for lunch plates which consisted of half a cooked breaded chicken, homemade pickles, and homemade bun all for the price of $1.

Christie’s Produce, ca. 1950s. [P7498]

 

 

As the autumn colours come into full swing, I am reminded to stop by the produce stands and pick up a bag of apples.  Whether you prefer making apple pie or drying your apples for an outdoor adventure snack, make sure to support your local Chilliwack produce stand.

 

Disclaimer: Much of the material for this blog post comes from research by Sharon Lawrence and an interview from Audrey Neufeld conducted by Sharon Lawrence. 

Facial Recognition – Archives Style

Posted on: July 25th, 2018 by Tristan Evans

Unidentified group with big smiles [2016.032.002.0786]

Big tech companies and government agencies have the advantage of using facial recognition software to help them identify individuals from digital images.  While I love a good conspiracy theory, I’ll break the myth and let you know that as a small community archives, we do not have such technology in our possession.  However, we here at the Chilliwack Museum and Archives have a secret tool that Google, Facebook, and large agencies do not have.  We have a great set of dedicated volunteers and a community that cares about preserving Chilliwack’s history.

 

Unknown individual doing something important [2016.032.002.0784]

 

 

Today I am going to tap into the community (you) and ask for help.  Throughout this blog you’ll notice photographs from a large collection.  The donor, I, and our volunteers have all tried to identify these remaining photographs from this large collection.  Unfortunately we have not had any luck.  This is when I ask you to kindly put on your archives hat and see if you recognize any of the individuals in these photos and/or maybe the event itself.

 

 

 

 

 

Looks like a charismatic speaker [2016.032.002.0787]

Any information you have on these photographs is appreciated.  Feel free to contact me directly if you recognize these photographs and I will gladly update our database.   You can find my contact information at the bottom of the blog post.  After you’ve looked at all the photographs of course.

 

 

 

 

 

Kids being patient [2016.032.002.0788]

Just three more photographs to go.  How about this fantastic family on the right with “smiling” kids?

 

 

 

 

 

 

More smiles [2016.032.002.0790]

Almost done.  How come this family is so lucky?  They appear in a few of these photographs!

 

 

 

 

 

Where is this store? I don’t know, do you? [2016.032.002.0791]

You made it to the final image… for now.  Recognize where this store is?

 

Thank you for looking.

 

Tristan Evans

[email protected]

604-792-5210 ext. 104

Volunteer Spotlight – Wayne Bowes

Posted on: June 20th, 2018 by Tristan Evans

The Chilliwack Museum is so much more than one individual.  To fulfill our mandate of preserving Chilliwack’s rich history, we rely on the work of so many individuals who generously share their time.  This includes (but is not all inclusive) members of the Chilliwack historical society, the Board of Trustees, 32 volunteers, 5 permanent staff members, 2 summer students, and 3 part-time staff members.  In the Archives building specifically, there is one archivist, one curator, one archives assistant, one summer student, and currently 4 volunteers.  As the name implies, volunteers charitably give their free time here doing a lot of the behind-the-scenes work that allows us to preserve and make available our archival records and cultural objects.

Volunteer Wayne Bowes and his wife Coleen Bowes

 

Each volunteer brings a unique skill set to the Archives that we try and pair up with tasks that are needed.  To this day I regularly use the research done by past volunteers such as Sharon Lawrence or Evelyn Johner.  Today I am going to use this opportunity to highlight one volunteer in particular:

 

Wayne Bowes volunteers in the Archives building mostly working on the curatorial side describing cultural objects.  Wayne is a retired architect, designer, and worked for many years in the antiques business.  With his knowledge, Wayne is the perfect individual to help us describe cultural objects.  His antique skills are particularly useful.  He knows far more about the material and use of an object than us generalist (the curator and myself) could ever hope to know.  He is here every Monday from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM imputing descriptive information into our database.  The work is often tedious and underappreciated.  Very few individuals understand all the behind-the-scene descriptions that Wayne is a part of.  During his last shift I asked Wayne a few questions about his work and why he is so committed to helping our mission.

 

Just one of the projects Wayne is currently describing

Why did you decide to volunteer for the Chilliwack Museum and Archives?

 

I wanted to give back to Chilliwack.  I have an interest in history and older items and wanted to use my knowledge in a meaningful way to give back to the community.

 

What type of work do you perform when you are at the Archives? 

 

I work mostly on the curatorial side.  I take photographs of objects and record the information into the database.  I look up the value of items and describe the items.  I use my past experience from working in an antiques shop to describe the artifacts and objects.

 

Do you have a favourite memory at the Museum and Archives?

 

I haven’t been working here for very long yet; but, I have really enjoyed some of the socials and luncheons for the volunteers.

 

Is there anything else you would like to mention regarding your work at the Archives? 

 

Staff are friendly, nice, and informative.  (I promise, I didn’t force him to say the last response)

 

Wayne Bowes has been volunteering since November, 2017.  He lives in Chilliwack proper with his wife Coleen Bowes.  They are long time residents of the community in Chilliwack and Cultus Lake.  From a personal perspective I can say without hesitation that it is an absolute pleasure working with Wayne.

 

Borrowing a phrase from one of my favourite podcasts, The Secret Life of Canada, shout out to Wayne Bowes!