The Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin’s new executive director and curator is impressed with the museum’s saddle collection and history of the region.

The Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin’s new executive director and curator is impressed with the museum’s saddle collection and history of the region.

New museum director impressed with local history

William Adams, who takes over as executive director and curator of the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin in September, brings experience.

William Adams, who takes over as executive director and curator of the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin in September, brings a broad background to the job in both business management and curatorial experience.

His credentials include (but are not limited to) a Bachelor of Business Administration from TRU; a Diploma in Public Sector Management and a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Medieval Studies from the University of Victoria; and a Post Baccalaureate Diploma in Public History from Simon Fraser University.

As a professional curator and museum manager, William has been at the Historic O’Keefe Ranch in Vernon; Craigflower Manor and Schoolhouse National Historic Sites (View Royal/Saanich, Vancouver Island); Boundary Museum Society, Grand Forks; and the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site in Richmond.

He also directed programs at Patchwork Farms and Community Gardens and the Allan Brooks Nature Centre in Vernon, and he was Heritage Communication Officer at the Fort Langley National Historic Site.

Adams says that one of his career highlights was working at Patchwork Farms where he co-ordinated the daily operation of a community farm and two community garden projects.

While there he developed a demonstration garden and cultivated historic Red Fife wheat. Another high note was implementing the BX Creek Wetland Enhancement and Interpretation Project for the Allan Brooks Nature Centre.

Completing an internship at the National Museum of Ireland, he took part in the conservation treatment of medieval wood from a Viking-age ship.

In Grand Forks, along with his other duties, he spearheaded a campaign that saved the Hardy Mountain Historic Doukhobors Village from demolition by bringing it into the public trust.

Another rewarding experience that may be repeated in Williams Lake (on a much smaller scale) was his overseeing the events celebrating the 150th anniversary of Craigflower Manor. The Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2016.

Adams grew up on a rural acreage on Vancouver Island, near Victoria.

During his secondary school years he was a member of 4-H, showing his registered Polled Charolais heifer at fairs on the Island and at the PNE.

He’s taken part in working holidays in Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.  His interests are varied, ranging from growing heritage tomatoes to maritime[r1] archaeology, B.C. history, and genealogy.

He has a Certificate in Foreshore and Underwater Archaeology that is accredited by the United Kingdom’s Nautical Archaeology Society.

He is a member of a unique lineage group the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada.

The United Empire Loyalists were people who were settled in the 13 colonies at the outbreak of the American Revolution, but remained loyal to the British Empire. Some of them settled in what is now Canada at the end of the war. Membership in this association is primarily made up of loyalist descendants. He was president of the Thompson-Okanagan Branch of this association from 2013 to 2015.

What attracted William to Williams Lake?

The history for one thing.

He is interested in all aspects of history, particularly on B.C. history and the fact that the museum focuses on the ranching history caught his attention.

He believes the museum’s ranching/cowboy theme is a unique tourist attraction that distinguishes Williams Lake from other cities.

The museum faces many issues – inadequate space and inadequate funding among them, but William says he has always welcomed challenges.

“I’ve had more than a decade of management and organizational experience in museum and heritage agencies,” he says. “Challenges are part of the job, you have a goal and then you just  to make it happen.”

He is looking forward to meeting members of community, city council, regional district directors and business groups.

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