Friday, June 7, 2013

How Many Years Ago Was That?


We are constantly looking for material to use and, when found, I always make a copy and place it in the "Gee Whiz" box for future reference. After a while the pages pile up but today I decided to go through them and re-discovered all sorts of treasures. Today's search was especially fine as the announcement of a grand opening was made 79 years ago today on June 7, 1934!

What was it?

Chilliwack's new athletic park and grounds on Young Road, a place for all to gather and spend a fine evening watching and cheering and chatting with others! Chilliwack's big day "June 13, 1934".

Chilliwack Progress, June 7, 1934, page 4
As someone who enjoys puttering about on research projects at home (with the baseball game on) I thought this announcement would be a good one to share. Love the graphics! Check out our Chilliwack baseball video and for added fun the classic baseball comedy from Abbott and Costello!

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Souvenir China from the Green Heart of British Columbia

With some changes to our display building it was good to have some of our commemorative china return to the curatorial department for care and attention. As I worked through the several examples in the museum's collection I was reminded of an earlier Museum and Archives exhibit that focused upon the promotion of Chilliwack and district to locals and visitors.

Souvenir china was, at one time, extremely popular and over the years I have seen examples from across British Columbia, Canada and elsewhere.

Mt Cheam Souvenir China Set, comprising plate, creamer and sugar.
Royal Winton, Grimwades, England.

Friday, May 25, 2012

What's the Buzz about Bees?

Honey Extractor used by "Honey" Johnson in the early Chilliwack Bee Keeping Industry. 

Day of the Honey Bee: May 29, 2012

They buzz about our gardens and fields, working their business, passing from one set of coloured petals to another. Steadily gathering, they harvest the goodness that becomes honey. I like watching them and enjoy their steady drone and attentive focus. They do a grand job and I am grateful to them for their initiative and company. We need those comb creators for pollination and with the recent threats to them I thought I would bring a bit of their local history to your attention. 

It was interesting that, while digging about on the Chilliwack Fruit Industry, I learned that at the same time there was a thriving local bee keeping industry. So far we have complied a list of early bee keepers working specifically in the Sardis area and have become aware that the bee keeping industry is not well represented in our object or archival collections.

For instance, although the Chilliwack Museum is fortunate to have a few pieces of bee related equipment we do not have any early examples of local honey tins. These cans could include custom made tins featuring graphics produced specifically for the firm or a standardized pattern with space for a local name stamp to be applied. We would be most grateful to learn about any Chilliwack honey tins that have survived and we thank you for any help you might be able to provide. As always it does not have to be really old to be of historic interest to us. (I would also mention, at the same time, we only have one early fruit manufacturer’s label from Storey Fruit Farms, Sardis, B.C.)

Turning to today, we have also learned that farmers lease bees from hive operators to ensure the pollination of their crops; cranberries are one example where bees perform their duties with determination. Apart from the production of honey, either creamed or liquid, the wax is also an important commercial part of the industry. In a recent conversation with a commercial bee keeper I believe he told me that the wax is used by the aviation industry. Eager to learn more I would enjoy hearing about other uses for bee related products or about local bee keeping history.

Please let us know what you might have lurking around representative of bees, their keepers and their work and remember that the Day of the Honey Bee is just around the corner.

The Day of the Honey Bee

Name of Day:
Day of the Honey Bee
Tuesday, May 29, 2012

WHEREAS the honey bee has, through its role as a pollinator, been an important part of our agricultural heritage since ancient times and

WHEREAS the honey bee plays an essential role in the success of agricultural enterprise in British Columbia and

WHEREAS the honey bee has been under serious threat due to disease and environmental conditions that ultimately threaten the future of agriculture in our province and

WHEREAS it is in the interest of furthering the goal of improved agricultural production to raise the awareness of the role of the honey bee and the plight it faces NOW KNOW YE THAT We do proclaim and declare May 29, 2012 as “The Day of the Honey Bee”.

From the British Columbia Honey Producers Association website:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

One Topic Leads to Another

Chilliwack's Strand Theatre with Ben-Hur film posters! 
Circa 1928. Image P3186

I always enjoy looking through our collections and discovering something new! Anytime there is an opportunity to browse through the pages of the Chilliwack Progress newspaper, which we have dating back to its origins in 1891, is always a bonus. One discovery leads to another and so it goes.

Recently we have been building up our knowledge of the fruit farming industry in Chilliwack and were delighted to find so much new information. Then searching through the online directories, courtesy of the Vancouver Public Library, we added to our findings. The scope of the fruit farming industry in Chilliwack is marvelous and has much potential for further study. I see a future exhibit in this!

Nevertheless while we look for one thing...we always find other interests.

It seems that Chilliwack was once, along with the fruit industry, a thriving bee-keeping community. As I scroll down the names of residents in Chilliwack, Sardis and Rosedale, in search of fruit related industry, I find other curiosities such as in the 1925 Wrigley's Directory the Palace of Sweets operated by J. Valalas, or C.J. Whittaker & Co. that sold farm implements locally. Still my favorite for the day, Mrs. K. Gregory pianist for the Strand Theatre! I can see her adding the soundtrack to the old silent films of the day! A little known and obscure fact that adds so much, I feel, to our knowledge of the Strand Theatre. From fruit to bees to the Strand and Ben-Hur! Who knew?

We may not know too much about these individuals yet, but they are there locked into our memory now, waiting for further discoveries that will add even more colour to this community's history. I wonder what this afternoon's discoveries will bring?

Incidentally the film Ben-Hur was produced in 1925!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lest We Forget

Tomorrow individuals from around Chilliwack and District will gather at this community's war memorials. Behind the Chilliwack Museum is the community's cenotaph unveiled in 1923 with the leaded names of 99 service personnel from the First World War and 85 from the Second World War. We will remember them.

Monday, May 30, 2011


Now We Just Have to Move Everything
Some remarkable changes have been made to the Chilliwack Museum and Archives and phase one of our new shelving has been completed. As the old Archives storage area will soon be the new research room, some of the Archival collection has already been transferred. Today also marks the first move of the object collection which numbers some 8000+ artifacts. The project will take some time to work through as storage locations are confirmed against the database. Phase 2 of the shelving project starts shortly and when completed, possibly by the end of July, we will really see some major changes in the look and feel of our renovated and new quarters.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

We’ve Got Paint

It’s all too exciting!
Since the shovels hit the ground on January 3, 2011 we have watched as our new addition has been set upon the landscape. Its been great to watch as the contractors set about their objectives with us on the sidelines, cheering amongst ourselves, as we saw each step completed. Today the painters have arrived and the rollers are rolling as the splash of colour brings a sense of completion to the interior walls. We are close to having our new addition and in just a few short weeks our new space will be ready for the next step.

That next round of excitement begins with the arrival and installation of state of the art rolling shelving. It will be magnificent once the installers have completed the shelving and the real fun begins. That is when the collections can return probably starting at the end of May or early June. Then it’s sorting out the collection locations on the database, which will take a bit of time, as we check and re-check ensuring that these items can be readily accessed.

The summer will be a busy time and the above only reflects the completion of the storage area. We still have a new research room to complete and we are actively engaged in raising funds to ensure that the new visitor’s area will be a warm and welcoming environment. After all, when you travel a long way to find your roots the memory of that discovery is all the more precious when found in a place we can all be proud of.