The Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin has had an incredibly exciting and busy year with new events, exhibits and staff changes and has been getting more comfortable in their new location within the Tourism Discovery Centre (TDC).
With the lower level renovations completed in May, the museum now has multiple new exhibits in its sizable display area, with staff and volunteers working hard to continue to develop the exhibits to make the best use of the new spaces. This includes a new group of exhibits focusing on historic, local businesses, such as the Woodland Jewellers display which was completed with the help and consultation of Cindy Watt and Brenda and Kevin Bourdon.
The museum welcomed new manager Alex Geris to the museum staff in June of this year. Geris and her husband recently moved to Williams Lake from Ontario to start a new life in the Cariboo Chilcotin. Geris brings a background in archival studies and has enthusiastically moved into the position to manage the museum’s collection and operations.
“Emphasizing community through new events and focussing on developing collaborative partnerships with other organizations and groups is so important for a regional museum like this one. I’m really looking forward to the community building that we are actively working toward,” Geris said.
Davana Mahon has also joined the museum’s core team as their marketing and promotions co-ordinator and is working on actively increasing the museum’s online presence. She is also working on developing new activities to promote the museum and the cultural heritage the museum represents.
“It’s an exciting time for me to join the team at the museum, we have lots of upcoming events and plans for the future to encourage local visitors to remember we’re still here for them, and not just for tourists in the visitors’ centre,” Mahon said.
This summer also saw the beginning of the museum’s Red Cross Project which will continue on until September of 2020. The museum’s 2017 move from its downtown location to the TDC presented many new challenges as it was on a short timeline and then interrupted by the wildfires and the city’s subsequent evacuation.
As a result, the museum’s collection requires significant work to improve the catalogue records and many of the larger objects had been stored off-site due to the limited space at the TDC. The goal of this project is to bring museum artifacts that are currently located off-site into the museum’s on-site storage while improving the collection records and completing the preservation of artifacts.
Under Red Cross funding, the museum has hired two full-time project assistants to complete this project: Casey Bennett and Nadia Erasmus. So far, the museum has successfully emptied two of its off-site storage locations with items relocated to the museum property at the TDC. Thank to this funding, the museum was also able to have a new storage shed built on TDC property that has helped provide storage for display supplies to create more artifact storage space inside the museum.
With the Red Cross project well underway, the entire collection will soon be physically accessible on-site and digitally catalogued, which will help make the best use of the museum’s vast collection of local heritage.
“We want to continue to create new displays to draw our community back into the museum and learn about their history, and with the improved records we’re going to be able to access and present these artifacts and their stories much more easily,” Geris said.
The museum is also beginning preliminary work on an exhibit that will focus on the forest fires of 2017 and its impact on the community as part of its Red Cross project. It will be partnering with the local forestry community to work on this exhibit, which will be completed in the Spring of 2020.
The museum is also readying itself for a busy winter ahead with several events coming up including their annual general meeting, Cariboo Country Christmas Craft and Trade Fair, Wreath Workshop, Christmas Tea and Bake Sale and our Sleighbells and Silverspurs Concert and New Years Celebration.
The museum’s AGM is coming up Thursday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. at city hall followed by the Cariboo Country Christmas Craft and Trade Fair on Saturday, Nov. 23. The craft fair will be held at the Elks Hall with doors opening at 10:30 a.m. and closing at 4 p.m. There will be a large variety of vendors, entertainment, food, Santa photos available by donation, and wagon rides.
Wagon rides will begin at 11 a.m. and run until 4 p.m. starting at the Cariboo Country Christmas Craft and Trade Fair at the Elks Hall and will travel through town with stops at the Seniors Activity Centre, Medieval Market, Cariboo Bethel Church, Cataline Craft Fair, and the Williams Lake Seniors Village.
At the end of November, the museum is holding its first Wreath Workshop, with only a couple spots left available. Call the museum at 250-392-7404 to book a spot. The Wreath Workshop is being held Saturday, Nov. 30 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the museum and will cost $30.
In December the museum will be hosting two more events, starting with the annual Christmas Tea and Bake sale on Sunday, Dec. 8 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Seniors Activity Centre. The museum invites the lakecity to avoid the stress of doing Christmas baking and to get all of your baking needs at the Christmas Tea and Bake Sale.
To wrap up 2019 the museum is hosting their first Sleighbells and Silverspurs Concert and New Years Celebration. There will be a live concert by Tennessee Walker, from Kamloops, door prizes, as well as appetizers throughout the night and complimentary champagne at midnight to ring in the new year. The door prizes include a $4,000 travel voucher.
Tickets for this 19-plus event are on sale for $50 each available at Margetts Meats, All-Ways Travel and at the museum.
The museum would like to extend a warm thank you to the community, museum members and volunteers, and sponsors for its continued support.
– Submitted by the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin.