Creston Museum, Creston BC  Creston Museum, Creston BC

Creston Museum News - April 2012

Posted by Tammy

Posted on 17:23, Wednesday, April 4

Welcome to the Creston MuseumThere's always something happening down here at the Museum.  It might be big and noticeable, but as often as not it's happening behind the scenes.  In summer, the "something" might be a visitor who spends hours here, telling us amazing stories about his or her life in the Creston Valley.  In winter, it might be a research request that gets me sidetracked, or a new exhibit being installed, or maybe we've made a big dent in the pile of artifacts to be catalogued.

Whatever the "something" is, I'll tell you about it here.

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Fri 04 May 2012 04:19:49 PM PDT

Tammy

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Status Update - 4 May 2012

Well, it has been an absolutely crazy day around here. Actually, the term "Controlled chaos" comes to mind - and I'm not too sure about the "controlled" part.  But, despite (or maybe because of) that, it has actually been a very productive day.

Six excellent prospective summer students were interviewed, and I'm going to have a tough decision to make because I can only hire two - but I will have a total of three young people (one was hired quite some time ago) starting work on Monday, and that means I'll have three summer employees trained and ready to go before we open.  That's a first!

Ann will be making some goodies, using 1930s recipes, for the exhibit opening next Saturday - and had the excellent suggestion of serving them on Depression-glass dishes. (We can do that!)

Kathryn has the panels for the Great Depression exhibit painted, all the images and documents scanned, and a good number of them printed and ready to put on; the headlines for each of the panels are printed and on; and this exhibit is 75% of the way done!

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We have our clean-up day ... er ... I mean Hands-On Day scheduled for tomorrow, so the lace will be all bright and clean and sparkling for the summer.

And there's a whole week to go before we open.
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Thu 03 May 2012 08:59:01 PM PDT

Tammy

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A Very Special Tour - 3 May 2012

We're not often open in the evening, but we do occasionally have groups in.  Tonight was one of those nights: The Creston fire department was in to take a tour of the Museum.

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Remember the false fire alarm we had last week?  That got us thinking that we should get the fire department in for a tour, so they'd know where everything is (like exits and sprinklers and electrical panels and such) and get a better idea of the layout of the place.

Well, while we were saying that, the fire department was also thinking they should come down, so tonight, they did.  We spent about an hour and a half, on a real behind-the-scenes tour.  We went into every building, through every door (at least once), up and down all the stairs, looking into everyroom and nook and cranny. Beleive me, some of those places were not designed to hold twenty-three men and women in full turn-out gear!

But it was a lot of fun. And it might have been a special group on a special tour, but some things never change - there were quite a few of them completely sidetracked by the model railway.
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Wed 02 May 2012 05:26:05 PM PDT

Tammy

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Summer Students! - 2 May 2012

The big news of the day is that we've finally been notified about some of our funding applications for summer students! We've been approved for two positions. This is huge - we can't hire any students unless we know we've got the funding to pay them (the students kind of like getting paid!), and these announcements come just in the nick of time - because the jobs start on Monday!

So today, I contacted all the students who have applied so far, and I'm setting up interviews for the next couple of days. If you know a student who might be interested, have them check out the job posting on our website and get them to apply right away!

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These two positions are funded through Young Canada Works. I'm still waiting to hear about an applicatoin under Canada Summer Jobs, so I might have one more position starting later in May or even early June.  But that one's likely to have a really quick turn-around time, too, so get those resumes in!
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Tue 01 May 2012 05:14:35 PM PDT

Tammy

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Aaack! - 1 May 2012

That's what I say when I suddenly realise that it's 5:05 PM on MAY FIRST and we're into May with less than two weeks to go before we open for the summer, with an exhibit that isn't done yet and a to-do list as long as my arm that needless to say did not get done today!

Whew!  It's okay - we have a team of awesome volunteers lined up to help with our clean up day (aka Hands-On Day at the Creston Museum) this Saturday. Kathryn is busily working on the exhibit that is well underway to being ready to move into the exhibit gallery, which other equally awesome volunteers have cleared out.  Janet has the gift shop well in-hand, so it will be stocked and set up in time. (That reminds me, I have to get  some more copies of some of our books printed). Paul has the banners and signs up around the property, and the railway guys are hard at work making sure the trains model trains will be running again, after some extensive repairs to the layout this winter.

So, brief panic attack over and done with now, we're actually in pretty good shape. All we need now are some summer students - and I'm still waiting to hear if we've got funding for those.

And I have just enough time to eat some supper before my meetings tongiht!It's all good.  Crazy, but good.
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Sat 28 Apr 2012 05:09:20 PM PDT

Tammy

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Farm for Sale or Trade - 28 April 2012

I've spent the afternoon scanning newspaper articles for our upcoming exhibit on the Great Depression.  I think this one is a particularly good illustration of one of the themes in our exhibit:

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One brief classified ad - this one from 17 March 1933 - tells a really big story. Saskatchewan was already suffering the worst of the Depression, and people were leaving by the hundreds and thousands. Obviously, they had to go somewhere - and Creston was a hugely attractive destination. This was due, to an enormous degree, to the shipments of fruit from Creston to the prairies. Although the purpose was to help out the hardest-hit parts of the country, this generosity had the effect of promoting Creston as a rich fruit-growing district.

Saskatchewan farmers responded in droves, moving everything they had out here in whatever vehicles they could find. Imagine the desperation they must have felt, to be willing to take on a farm in Creston, sight unseen, on any terms available, in hopes of finding a better life than what you were leaving behind.  Did they actually find it?

That is a whole other story.
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Fri 27 Apr 2012 04:55:18 PM PDT

Tammy

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"Making Do" - 27 April 2012

Well, we're making great progress on the Getting By ... and Coming Through exhibit.  Kathryn and I have a clear picture of what the exhibit will look like; we've got the majority of our photographs, documents, and artifacts selected; and we're starting to physically put it together.

This morning, we started preparing the panels that will illustrate each of six themes that the exhibit will highlight, and, in the spirit of "Making Do" (which is one of the themes), guess what we're using for those panels?

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Yep - retired local election campaign signs - one of which actually looks like it's been reused once already. Two of the signs, taped together with a roll of heavy white tape that we bought a long time ago for something and has been floating around ever since because we changed our plans, are exactly the size we wanted the panels to be. Then, a quick coat of paint in a very 1930s dusty-rosish-brown colour (the paint chip called it "Midsummer Night"), and the panels, seen in the photo leaning up against shelves and filing cabinets to dry, are ready to go.

In the next few days, we'll be moving in the artifacts and displaying them on an assortment of small tables that we already have. We're making a time line, showing the crash and slow rise of the local and national economies, using two colours of painters tape. Even though this is an all-new exhibit, we won't actually be making anything new for it - just coming up with creative ways of achieving the look we want. In fact, our largest single purchase is a quart of paint.

Tomorrow, my job is to start scanning the photos and documents, and printing them at the required size on sticker paper, so we can put them on the panels and wind up with a very slick, professional-looking exhibit that should cost us, oh, about $50.

How's that for "Making Do" and "Getting By" with what you have?
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Thu 26 Apr 2012 04:28:01 PM PDT

Tammy

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A Big Thank You - 26 April 2012

It's a little early, but I'm going home to take a nap, and I'm sure there are quite a few other people around town who are feeling the same.  Namely, the men and women at the Creston fire department.

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We had a fire alarm go off here at the Museum last night. Fortunately, it was a false alarm (we're getting some of the oldest smoke detectors replaced to take care of that), but I'd really like to extend our thanks, and gratitude, to the Creston fire department, for your quick response.

The call came in at about 12:25 AM, and by the time I got here less than ten minutes later, the fire crews were on site with three trucks; they were inside and checking the place out - and I am quite certain that, if there had been a fire, the damage and loss would have been absolutely minimal as a result.

So, thanks. When you've got a large collection of irreplaceable things - and I'm sure this applies equally for the Museum and for family belongings and memories - it's very reassuring to know it's in such good hands.
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Wed 25 Apr 2012 05:25:24 PM PDT

Tammy

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No subject

Ki'suk kyukyit!

That's the Ktunaxa word for "Greetings."  I learned it today, at the public open house that the Lower Kootenay Band hosted this afternoon. It was a fantastic event - lots of information about the Band and what they're doing, within the Yaqan Nukiy community and beyond, demonstrations of aspects of traditional culture, and of course some amazing drumming and singing.

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In addition to learning a lot more about everything from counselling and community services available for band members, to the Yaqan Nukiy School, to the challenges of dealing with land-use issues, I had an opportunity to leaf through a dictionary of the Ktunaxa language.  It is an amazing language - very descriptive, with so many words that don't have an equivalent in English.  For example, there is a single word that means "to cover something with your hand." The change of a single letter in one word changes the meaning from "my mother" to "your mother."

If you missed the open house today, I encourage you to make the next one, or attend the Yaqan Nukiy pow wow over the May long weekend. It's a fasicnating culture, and there are a lot of great people in the community.  In the meantime, keep an eye on the Lower Kootenay Band's website, www.lowerkootenay.com
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Tue 24 Apr 2012 05:53:11 PM PDT

Tammy

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Exhibit Opening - 24 April 2012

We are getting ready to open our summer exhibit, "Getting By ... and Coming Through." We have a lot of work to do, because it's not actually set up or even anywhere close to being set up yet, but we've got nearly three weeks - lots of time, right? Right.  Deep breaths - we can do this.

Anyway, the exhibit is all about the Great Depression in the Creston Valley. It touches on the big things we're all familiar with - relief projects, migration from the Prairies (we look at that one from the opposite view you learned about in school - many of the people leaving the Prairies came here), and the contrast between those who were getting by, and those who were not. It also looks at the role of women (essential) in pulling families through the tough economic times, and the big projects that happened here, which seem to fly in the face of the economic reality.

That's a lot to cover in one exhibit - and far more than I can do justice to in a brief blog posting.  So, you'll just have to read the article in the upcoming issue of I Love Creston magazine, and come on down here when we open the exhibit on 12 May.

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We're having a special reception that afternoon, and like all good receptions, there will be food.  Some of it will be made from recipes that appeared in the local newspapers in the 1930s (Kathryn found a very yummy-sounding one for no-bake lemon cream pie, though we're not sure if it'll translate easily into bite-sized reception morsels!). We're sending invitations to everyone we can think of who was here during the Depression, and I know many of them will be more than happy to share their stories. And we're hoping to get a conversation going about the sometimes-startling parallels between the Great Depression of the 1930s, and the economic downturn of today.

And, to help you get into the spirit of things, hobo attire is encouraged!
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Sat 21 Apr 2012 04:08:33 PM PDT

Tammy

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The Changing Face of Local Business - 21 April 2012

On Thursday morning, Jim Jacobsen at the Chamber of Commerce asked us if we had a littel display to fill some space at the Home and Garden Show this weekend.  Specifically, he wanted something that would decorate the windows that normally look in to the arena at the Rec Centre.

We spent a few hours photocopying photographs of local businesses and downtown streets, and taping them onto six sheets of poster board.  We left lots of blank space around the photos, so people could write in their comments.  Here's what happened:

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Pretty much constantly throughout the show, there were people looking at the photos, pointing things out and telling stories about the businesses, the people who ran them, or the things they'd bought there.  More often than not, we had whole rows of people lined up:

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We had a lot of great conversations going, and even some heated debates (Where was the Sizzle Kitchen, for example). A lot of people added comments, and a lot of those comments got edited or added to over the two days of the show. We saw people coming back several times, to add something that they'd forgotten - it's always fun to be able to bring back memories, especially memories of things people had forgotten they knew!

All of the panels have quite a few notes written on them; three or four are almost completely covered in hand-written stories.

Not bad, I think, for a display that only took a few hours and $10 to create! It was so much fun, now I'm trying to think where in the Museum we can put the panels so people can enjoy - and add to - them for a little longer.
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Thu 19 Apr 2012 05:01:20 PM PDT

Tammy

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Maybe the first? - 19 April 2012

Kathryn was in today, finishing up the research for our "Getting By ... and Coming Through" exhibit on the Great Depression in the Creston Valley.  WHile she was going through the newspapers from 1935, she found this in the 19 July issue:

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Isn't that great?  It's the earliest personal ad we've found in hte local papers!
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Wed 18 Apr 2012 09:31:02 AM PDT

Tammy

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Posts: 1187

Volunteer Week - 18 April 2012

It's volunteer week this week, and even though I'm running crazy from one meeting and outside engagement to another, I wanted to take a moment to thank all of our volunteers who make things happen around here.  You are all wonderful, amazing people, and I am very grateful for your dedication and support.
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Fri 13 Apr 2012 05:15:23 PM PDT

Tammy

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Treasures! - 13 April 2012

Looking in boxes is a good thing!

Bunny, Nicole, Helen, and I have been hard at work this week sorting through a large collection of books. We've pulled out quite a few duplicates, and found a good-sized stack of textbooks, cookbooks, novels, and Canada Post regulations that we don't need (they'll be making their way to good homes soon). But in the process, we've come across a few that definitely come under the heading of "This is really cool!"

Here's one:

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As you can see, it's the frontspiece of a book on the history of the province. What you probably can't see in this photo is the publication date: 1906. It goes into considerable detail about the earliest explorers - back to the 1500s - and fur traders, gold seekers, and so on. A good portion of the book consists of biographies of people who played a major role in the province's development - because of the publication date, a lot of these are written in the present tense. And the language is just fantastic:

"A little thoughtful consideration of the career of John August Erickson, ... brings one to the conclusion that he has in most of his business operations been impelled by the spirit of the pioneer."  His bio goes on to say that he owned a hotel at Kootenay Landing, and that "His has been an active, useful, and honorable career." I don't know if this is the same Gus Erickson after whom the community of Erickson was named, but I suspect not - that Gus Erickson was very active with the CPR, and this bio doesn't say anything about such a career.

Another treasure we found is this:

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A very detailed report on the wildlife of the Creston Valley, written in August 1950 by J.A. Munro. Cyril C was in today, and told me that Munro was the first to conduct such an in-depth survey in the Creston Valley. I've had to try very hard not to get side-tracked by this one.

And finally, my favourite of all our newly-discovered treasures:

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I know you can't read much more than the word "Music" on the rather tattered cover of this scrapbook. The hand-written note at the bottom says:

"This music was used by my sister [Jeanne Hall] at the old theatre operated by the Rodgers family in the 1920s."

I wonder - was it music played during the old silent films? Or maybe music played at the many many dances, meetings, and socials that were held in the Grand Theatre?

Hmmm.
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Wed 11 Apr 2012 05:34:36 PM PDT

Tammy

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It's Spring! - 11 April 2012

It's spring!  It must be, becasue it has all of a sudden started to picki up around here in terms of the number of visitors we're getting.  Two tours yesterday, four today - I spent all afternoon talking.  Whoops - let me be a little more specific before the sarcastic comments start flying: I spent all afternoon talking to visitors. As opposed to myself, or volunteers, or our new employee Nicole.

I have lots of other things to tell you about, too, because there's lots going on around here (more proof that it;s spring!).  But I'm tired, so it's going to have to wait. Talk to you tomorrow!
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Tue 10 Apr 2012 05:38:49 PM PDT

Tammy

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Chamber's Visitors Guide - 10 April 2012

I picked up a copy of the 2012 Visitors Guide from the Chamber of Commerce today:

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Isn't that a beautiful cover?  And thanks, guys, for the two-page spread on the Museum!
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Thu 05 Apr 2012 04:34:52 PM PDT

Tammy

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Great Visit to Canyon School - 5 April 2012

Rick, Trudy, Nicole and I visited Canyon School on Tuesday with a presentation on the early explorers of the Creston Valley.  The kids learned about the experiences of three different explorers through a board game that had them portaging canoes, climbing mountains, investigating different possible routes, sometimes falling overboard, and even imagining what it would be like to eat rotten deer meat.

Their teacher, Mrs. Z., came in today with a wonderful thank-you card:

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Little notes from each of the students telling us what they liked best (falling overboard and eating rotten deer actually figured quite prominently among them!), and a canoe stuffed with supplies moving down the river to the lake.  Cool, huh?

Thanks for the card, and I'm glad you all enjoyed the presentation!
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Wed 04 Apr 2012 05:55:01 PM PDT

Tammy

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Stitches in Time - 4 April 2012

Remember a couple of months ago I told you about a project we're tackling with the Embroidery Guild, to create embroidery patterns for some of the beautiful hand-work pieces we have in the Museum's collection?

Well, Juhli, one of the Embroidery Guild ladies, was in the other day, showing me what she's accomplished so far.

She started with this vntage baby bib:

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It's hard to tell in this photo, but it has a very pretty little white-on-white satin-stitch design on it.  Here's Juhli's version:

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The embroidery design is the same, but Juhli's reproduced it using a lovely shadow-embroidery technique. I love how the lace she's chosen for hers echoes the style of lace used in tho original, too.

Juhli's creation includes a pattern for making the bib, as well as the design for the embroidery.

When we package these pattersn up in little booklets, they'll include a photo of the original, and a photo of the reproduction, along with suggestions for fabrics, threads, and colours so stitchers can either re-create the original, or re-create the reproductions, or, of course, play with their own favourite colours and materials.

Now Juhli's working on a pattern for an embroidered christening gown.  I can't wait to see it, and the other patterns the ladies are working on!

Watch for the patterns to hit our gift shop this spring, and we're planning a little exhibit of the original and reproduced pieces for May and June.
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