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!