Ruth Walters new museum president.

Museum society elects new president

Ruth Walters is the new president of the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin.

Ruth Walters is the new president of the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin.

Ruth joined the Williams Lake Museum and Historical Society in 2011 and served as vice-president last year.

She was acclaimed as president at the society’s annual general meeting Nov. 4, replacing Sheila Wyse who stepped down.

Walters took over as president at a busy time for the museum,  just before the ninth annual Cowboy Christmas Trade Show and Concert on Saturday, Nov. 16.

Walters spent 16 hours at the Gibraltar Room, helping set up, clean up, and man tables in between.

What’s more, she still had her sense of humour  at  the end of the day.

The  annual  Christmas Bake Sale and Tea  is coming up on Dec. 7.

Next year is a big one for the museum as Williams Lake celebrates its 85th birthday.

Ruth was born and raised in Williams Lake, arriving at the “old” hospital (where city hall now stands) shortly after her parents arrived in the Cariboo from Manitoba in 1956.

She is the seventh of the 10 Walters children.

Her father  William, was one of the many First Nation veterans who lost their status when they enlisted in the Second World War.

He was a millwright and worked in forest industry as well as doing some prospecting.

During her early years the family lived at 150 Mile House and Ruth attended school there until Grade 4.

One of her proudest accomplishments as a youngster was winning the cup at a school sports day.

When the family moved to Glendale Ruth attended   the Glendale Elementary School with the legendary Hazel Huckvale as  principal.

She has happy  memories of growing up in Williams Lake, she  says she was a bit of a tomboy and  there was lots of space  for kids to be kids.

She went to Williams Lake Junior Secondary  and Columneetza Secondary School where she was an original member of the High School Rodeo Club.

Ruth started her working career at the tender age of 13 at the Bil Nor Cafe (now CJs).

She worked for a time at Lignum’s Mill, but  mostly  was a waitress and bartender at the Cook Shack, Francie’s Supper Club, and the Lakeview Hotel.

She spent some time in Vancouver at an orthopaedic shop.

The owner was Slovenian. Ruth says he taught her to do orthopaedics and she taught him to speak English.

She was  an extra in a couple of movies, including 27 Jump St.

Back in the Cariboo, Ruth and her partner Trevor Marshall  ranched at Alexis Creek for a time, raising horses and Pinzgauk cattle  before moving to Williams Lake.

Ruth likes to garden, and she likes to preserve  what she grows.

She is an excellent cook and enjoys doing that too.

She has always had an interest in history, especially local history,  collecting stories and books.

In preparation for the job as president she has been taking the Management for  Non-Profits course  through Thompson Rivers University’s Continuing Education.

The  13 week program (three hours a week plus tons  of homework) is taught  by Graham Kelsey.

She has plans for the  coming year.

In the sort term,  she wants to work with the  board of directors  to update  the museum’s policies and practices.

She hopes  to  encourage volunteers to  become involved in  activities., and she would like to see the museum have a  higher profile in the community.

Museum artifacts have outgrown the space   available for both displays and storage,   and a long- term goal is find a way to  add to the building.

The museum has been in it’s present location since  1988  when it leased the facility from the city.

It opened officially in 1991.

 

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