Learning, Connection and Fun

@CHWKMuseum

Official Blog of the Chilliwack Museum and Archives

Posts Tagged ‘Engagement’

Summer Outreach and Activities

Posted on: June 14th, 2017 by Stephanie Clinton

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!

Looking Together – Visiting the Museum with a Multigenerational Group

Posted on: April 5th, 2017 by Stephanie Clinton

Over the two weeks of Spring Break this year we welcomed all kinds of multi-generational groups to our museum and had a great time sharing with first-time visitors and long-time members what we have to offer our community. Groups came in all different shapes and sizes, from children visiting with their grandparents to caregivers with children aging from babies to teens.

Updated Discovery Hunts are available daily for all ages.

Updated Discovery Hunts are available daily for all ages.

Whereas some embrace visiting museums with a multi-generational group, it can sometimes be difficult keeping the youngest in your group engaged at the same time as the older ones. So how do we ‘Look Together’ when visiting a museum so that the trip is a fun, meaningful and engaging experience for everyone? For this blog post, I thought I’d share a few tips and tricks that you can use on your next trip to the museum!

Prepping for your visit – Before:

  • Find out your groups prior knowledge of the museum. Does someone in your group have a favourite memory of a previous visit? Have them share this memory with the rest of the group.
  • For first time visitors ask questions like: What is a museum? What can we see and do at the museum? Why do we have museums? Make connections with life at home – is there a place where you keep special objects from your past? Why are they important to you?
  • Come prepared: bring cameras, notebooks, pencils, and magnifying glasses to help you explore the exhibits and record your memories!

During your visit:

  • Talk to staff: Check in with the staff at the front desk to find out if there are any special activities to take part in. At the Chilliwack Museum we always have Discovery Hunts geared to two different age ranges, as well as our hands-on Discovery Bins available daily. These are fun for kids and adults!
  • Make comparisons: compare what you see in the exhibits to present day life in Chilliwack, what is the same and what is different? Does anyone in your group have memories they can share of a different time in Chilliwack’s history?
  • Play some Games! Ask someone in your group to tell a story about an object in an exhibit; Play I Spy to encourage everyone to look a little closer at what they see; Try ‘Tell me How or Why’ find an object and see if you can find out how it was made or why it was made.
  • Don’t forget to explore the site! Look closely at the architecture of the building, what is the same or different about buildings today?

After the visit:

  • Talk about your visit – What was your favourite part? If you were to share one thing about the museum with someone else what would it be?
  • Is there anything you are still wondering about? Pursue topics that interest your group further by looking online (our online collections can be accessed here) or by visiting the archives.
  • Give us your feedback as to what you’d like to see or do at the museum in the future!
  • Follow us on social media to keep up with our events and activities or check the Events Calendar.
  • Use your museum experience to create your own museum exhibit at home. Start a collection of favourite objects at home and put them together into an exhibit to share with friends and family!

I hope this gives you some inspiration for your next visit to the museum. We’re looking forward to welcoming groups of all ages to the museum as we gear up for our summer programming!

Looking Forward to 2017

Posted on: December 20th, 2016 by Stephanie Clinton

This past year has been jam packed with Education and Engagement projects. We’ve taken the museum out to events like Canada Day and Party in the Park and updated our hands-on Discovery Bins for children. We’ve been working with School District 33 to create local history kits and completed our first kit on Chilliwack’s Chinatowns. We’ve also updated our school programs to fit with the new BC Curriculum and hosted a number of speakers and events in the museum.

So what’s in store for 2017?

We’re working on developing a new Archives based program for Middle and High School students. This program will focus on introducing students to the archives and how to access and interpret primary sources.

Continuing to work on local history kits with the school district, we are currently focusing on developing resources on the floods of both 1894 and 1948 in the Fraser Valley.

This past fall we’ve been working with a group of Grade 6 students on an education project based on our current exhibit Photography from Obscura to App. Starting on February 9th we will be exhibiting students’ photographs at the museum. These will be on display until June 11th when Photography from Obscura to App closes.

As the host organization for the BC Historical Federation conference in May we are helping to plan a series of interesting workshops, field trips and lectures that will highlight our city and its diverse history.

As the year progresses we’ll be looking to continue scheduling events and activities for all ages. Don’t forget to check our Events Calendar or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to find out what’s happening at the museum!

See you in 2017!

Summer at the Museum

Posted on: August 17th, 2016 by Stephanie Clinton

By Kelsey Ablitt, Education and Engagement Assistant, Summer 2016

Its almost difficult to grasp that my time at the museum is coming to an end in just two short weeks. These past few months have been filled with new experiences and a lot of learning. I learned about the work that goes into running a museum, how to research at the archives, what education at a museum looks like, that elastic bands can be kept in the fridge and the best way to get a dew worm to move in a race.

 

Busy at Party in the Park, the theme was Community of Villages this week.

Busy at Party in the Park, the theme was Community of Villages this week.

One of my biggest projects this summer was to revamp the Discovery Bins. These bins were designed to be themed and filled with interactive things for children to play with. Initially, I didn’t think that sprucing up these bins would take nearly as much time or work as they ended up taking. As I took a look at the different material in them, I found myself coming up with new themes to organize them into, different artifacts to add to them and new interactive worksheets to make for them. This was easily my biggest and most time consuming task of the summer, however I can’t help but feel accomplished when I see kids enjoying the history and artifacts that the bins provide. Redoing these bins taught me about how things that may seem simple, actually had a lot of hard work put into them. Not only did I have to make sure my facts were correct and my themes relevant, I also had to constantly consider if they were kid friendly and that means being accessible to a wide age group. This means including things that toddlers or children just learning to read can interact with as well as something a bit more in-depth that will interest older children.

 

Another important aspect of my position this summer was helping with the different outreach events. Our main outreach event was Party in the Park, every Friday night in July. My job was to plan a craft for kids to do when they stopped by our booth. I desired to make the crafts relevant to the history of Chilliwack as much as I could. To do so, I chose a different theme from Chilliwack’s history to focus on for each Friday. To help share the historical love even more, I created a poster full of images and facts on the themes. I found these posters to be quite useful when kids were busy doing the crafts, as it gave parents something to read. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from outreach, its that your crafts need to be interesting but quick. There are usually lots to see and do at events like Party in the Park, therefore not only do the kids have a shorter attention span, their parent also does not want to be at the same booth for a long period of time.

 

Pretty in Pink, the things you find in a museum!

Pretty in Pink, the things you find in a museum!

In between the major tasks of this summer, my time was filled with many other little projects. I was able to sit in on meetings, give my input on the various goings on in the museum, help with school programs and much more. There was never a dull moment, I was always learning something new about the history of Chilliwack or what it takes to get a printer to print what you want (and in a timely fashion). Despite how thankful I am for all the things I have learned and the level of accomplishment I felt when finishing projects, my favourite part of the whole summer was the new friendships I have gained. The museum is filled with so many colourful and caring people, from the staff to the volunteers. I have loved getting to know the volunteers and seeing their interest in Chilliwack’s history. I have loved being able to get to know the staff and learn of the amazing things they have accomplished and all the exciting ideas they have for the museum, they are all extremely inspiring people. However, I cannot help being extremely thankful for Stephanie, she taught me something new nearly everyday and constantly encouraged me. She gave me freedom with creativity, she was extremely patient with me and was always there to give helpful input. The experience that Stephanie and the museum has provided me is something I will always be grateful for and I cannot wait to put what I have learned to use in the future.

Summer Outreach and Events

Posted on: June 16th, 2016 by Stephanie Clinton

Myself and our summer student, Kelsey, have been working hard to get ready for summer here at the museum and out in the community. We’re looking forward to taking part in Canada Day celebrations as well as Party in the Park with the Downtown Chilliwack BIA.

Kelsey poses with one of our new Discovery Bins. Come visit to find out what's inside!

Kelsey poses with one of our new Discovery Bins. Come visit to find out what’s inside!

Getting out into the community and taking part in events is important to us as we seek to share our community’s history! This year we’re focusing on bringing fun hands-on activities to these events that will help tell the story of our past for both young and old alike.

 
Each Party in the Park night we’ll be focusing on a different topic that relates to Chilliwack’s history. Join us at our tent to learn more about Chilliwack and check out our selection of local history books, including the recently re-published Chilliwack Story.

 
We’re also planning to bring the fun inside the museum with our updated Discovery Bins. Each bin contains hands-on objects and activities on specific topics to explore. We’ll be highlighting the bins with activities each week of the summer – find out what’s happening here!

 
As we get closer to the final few months of our exhibit Game On! The Evolution of Sports in Chilliwack, we’ll be inviting families to join us on July 30th for a Family Fun Day at the museum including tours, sports activities, games, prizes and more! We hope to see you there!

The Perfect Combination of History and Education

Posted on: June 1st, 2016 by Stephanie Clinton

Being fairly new to the museum community, my first month as the Education and Engagement Assistant has been full of learning. Not only am I learning more about Chilliwack’s history and our current exhibits, I am learning about a new career possibility.

 

The Chilliwack Museum and Archives snapchat code.

The Chilliwack Museum and Archives snapchat code.

For as long as I can remember, my goal has been to become an elementary school teacher. I enjoy working with kids and I love helping people learn. I am currently working towards a history major at the University of the Fraser Valley. However, as I get closer to finishing my degree, I worry that I won’t be able to embrace history in an elementary classroom as much as I would like. With little interest in teaching middle and secondary grades, I’ve found myself wondering what other job possibilities there are that embrace both education and history. Working along side the Education and Engagement Coordinator has been extremely helpful in teaching me about an amazing career option. Not only does this position let you dive into history, it also provides the opportunity to work with children through the various school programs offered at the museum.

 
In my first month here, I’ve had the opportunity to take part in many of the different aspects of the position. I’ve helped facilitate some of the school programs, both here at the museum and at the schools. I’ve also participated in several meetings with teachers about an exciting new local history kits project. These meetings are one of my favourite things I’ve been able to take part in. Being able to see and give input on a collaboration between the museum and the teachers is wonderful. It’s made me aware of the various things I could do as a future teacher along with the museum.

 

Gathering supplies for the Discovery Cupboard update!

Gathering supplies for the Discovery Cupboard update!

I’ve also been able to take part in my own projects, such as creating a museum snapchat (CHWKmuseum). After seeing that various other museums had successful snapchats, such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, I was inspired to create one, hoping to use it as a fun way to interact with the younger generations. The main project I’ve been working on over the past month was updating and revamping our Discovery Cupboard. The Discovery Cupboard is an important part of our museum, as it is designed to provide engaging and hands on bins for kids. I have been working hard to reorganize the content of the bins and have more guided activities in them as well. Be sure to keep up to date with the museum as we will be hosting crafts throughout July and August to highlight our newly updated Discovery Cupboard.

 
Overall, my first month at the museum has been full of exciting projects, experiences and learning about different career options that combine both history and education. I’m excited to see what more projects and experiences are to come for the rest of the summer.

 

Kelsey Ablitt, Education and Engagement Assistant

Sparking Conversations

Posted on: March 30th, 2016 by Stephanie Clinton

Tomorrow evening we are welcoming viaSport BC to the museum along with four female panelists for our Game On! Women in Sport event. As our archivist mentioned in a previous blog post, this is somewhat of an unusual event for the museum. Yet these types of events are very relevant to the work of museums today.

The_Chilliwack_Progress_Thu__Nov_1__1928_

One of the newspaper clippings I found while searching for articles covering women in sports. Chilliwack Progress Newspaper Clipping, November 1, 1928 page 8.

 
I’m very excited that we were able to make the connection with viaSport to host such a great event for our community. History is a living part of who we are, it has shaped the way we live, how we communicate with each other, and even how we go forward into the future. Understanding our past helps us better understand our present, in order to better shape the future. This is exactly what Game On! Women in Sport is all about. We’ll be shining a light on the achievements of women athletes in the past, looking at how far women have come in sports today and talking about goals and dreams for women in sport in the future. What would this event look like 50 years from now? What memorabilia, stories, artifacts, newspaper articles would tell the story of women in sport then?

 
Hosting an event like this inevitably sparks interesting conversation, even before the event has occurred. Over the last few weeks, I’ve had great conversations about not only women in sports but the history of sports in general with museum volunteers, journalists, athletes and so on. I’ve learned about style guides for journalists which describe appropriate language for writing about women athletes, I’ve heard stories of frustration when facing sexism in the sports world, and I’ve learned a lot about the importance of leveling the field in sports from our viaSport partners.

 
As I go forward with planning for the next year of events here at the museum, I’ll look to find opportunities like this one to build on the stories our exhibits start to tell and to spark conversations which are relevant not only today but for the future as well. History is not only important to learn about in order to understand our past, but it helps inform our actions as we look towards the future.

 

The Place of the Museum in the City

Posted on: June 4th, 2015 by Matthew Francis

What is the place of a museum in a city? Of this museum in our city? What role do we play? What is our purpose? What are we here for? 

Why don’t we start talking about it?

This blog will be one place where we can kick off what I hope will be an ongoing conversation.

What do you think of this picture? We don’t know for sure the reason for this crowd, or the precise date it took place, but they did gather here. We know it is some years on from the construction of the building in 1911-1912, as the trees and foliage have matured, and ivy sheathes the balcony and staircases. This building then served as Chilliwack’s City Hall, positioned symbolically at the geographic heart of the community, just west of Five Corners. It was the site of many significant speeches, the War Memorial, animated conversations about ideas that matter, as well as fun civic happenings. When Chilliwack wanted to think through something together – this is where we came. Could this place become that again?  

We know that museums and archives are about conserving historic objects and records. This is central to our work. I used to joke that conserving historic places often took hundreds of hours of conversation, which often turned out to be true. But what if museums are as much about conversation as they are about conservation?

2015-07-francisBefore returning home to Chilliwack in February 2015 to take on the role of Executive Director here at the Museum, I worked for ten years in communities across Alberta – both large and small. My task was to help local people and municipalities to understand, protect and conserve their locally significant historic places – mainly heritage buildings. In that job, I learned from so many committed and passionate individuals and groups that historic resources are as much about the present and the future as they are about the past. It’s similar – but unique – with our museum and archives work here. If we are going to create a meaningful and vibrant future for Chilliwack, then we need to explore our roots – our multifaceted history – in deeper ways. Stepping into the Museum or Archives, especially if you’ve never come before, is a great way to do that. Unique opportunities like TEDxChilliwack, which the Museum is hosting in February 2016, will help us to see these “stories that empower us.” In this way, we take up that place again as a context for those important conversations.

In 2012, Larry Beasley, the former Chief Urban Planner for the City of Vancouver, gave a game-changing speech that inspired us in the museums world to think a new thought. What if we began to consider “The City as Museum and the Museum as City?” Beasley asks us to consider “what the city museum can do as a part of the ongoing creative process of a city that is forever changing and being re-created.” That is every city, and that is Chilliwack.

In 1979, the Township of Chilliwhack and the City of Chilliwack amalgamated to form the District of Chilliwack, and the old City Hall became vacant. Through the diligence, tenacity, and foresight of the Chilliwack Museum & Historical Society and the support of the Province of BC’s Heritage Conservation Branch, a feasibility study was commissioned. The engineers that wrote that study stated that the old City Hall building would be “logical, feasible and practical” as a museum. A major rehabilitation project ensued, and on March 21, 1987 the historic City Hall reopened its doors as the Chilliwack Museum. We’ve been here now for almost thirty years – still at the physical heart of the city.

Since the late 80s, the world has changed dramatically, and so have museums, as Prof. Jack Lohman, Director of the Royal BC Museum, explores in his recent book, “Museums at the Crossroads.” Just think of life before the internet and smartphones. We’re no longer simply “cabinets of curiosities,” belonging to the elite of society – with treasures plundered from ancient and long-dead civilizations. Rather, museums now often conserve and exhibit the material “stuff” of cultures that are very much alive, and vibrant. Today’s museums are like schools, universities, and labs, places of learning – environments for discovery. We have the great asset, as an organization, of being local. Chilliwack is our theme. If you ask “what is the focus of your collections?” (as many do), the best answer is simply: “Chilliwack.” And that means we are – in a way – about you, and the people, places, things, and moments that matter to us all.

It’s my hope that we can explore some of these ideas together, here at the Museum, and in other settings too. What does it mean to inhabit this place – to be and live well in Chilliwack? What has it meant to people over the centuries, and what does it mean to us now? What will it mean for our children and grandchildren? Let’s begin and continue to ask those questions – in exhibits, in public programs, in learning ‘laboratories’ and informal gatherings. Help us to chart our future, as a museum, and as a city. What does it mean, in the words of T’xwelatse (Herb Joe), that “we have to learn to live together in a good way“?  We believe that museums and archives can be places in which we discover how to do just that.

What do you think? Please share your ideas. We look forward to hearing from you.