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Fort St. John museum news

Several new books on Canadian Indigenous history now available at the museum
FSJ-School-1949-50-NorthPeaceMuseumArchives2020.017.005
This photograph shows teacher Miss White and the Grade 10 and 11 students c. 1949 or 1950 standing in front of the Fort St. John School.

We have so many exciting projects on the go behind the scenes. Our exhibit volunteers are hard at work on the historic Allen House interior renovations. Our archives volunteers and museum summer student are diligently scanning newspapers, cataloguing photographs, and researching.

We’re preparing to welcome two more students in conjunction with the Peace Liard Regional Arts Council who will sort through and scan material which Sue Popesku collected relating to the local arts, culture, and heritage scene. On top of that we’re busy applying for grants, cataloguing incoming artefacts, and developing new programs and exhibits.

New Exhibits

• Indigenous Cultural Exhibit (until mid-June)

This self-guided and interactive exhibit documents the history of the Peace River Valley through replicas of archaeological artefacts and stories from Indigenous communities. It also commemorates sites that will be lost to inundation from the future Site C reservoir. Members of Indigenous communities tell stories of their ancestors’ use of the land, spiritual places, current cultural activities, and of their resourcefulness and resilience. This exhibit showcases archaeological evidence unearthed during the Site C construction such as replica arrowheads and a half-scale replica of an ancient bison skeleton. BC Hydro and local Indigenous communities partnered to showcase the artefacts and stories that make up this exhibit.

• Redecorating the Pioneer Kitchen & Parlour Exhibits

We’ve been working hard to refurbish our permanent exhibits and get new artefacts on display. Volunteer Chris Gillet has arranged new artefacts in our pioneer kitchen (c. 1920-1940) and volunteer Lynne Holland has sewn new drapes for the kitchen. The parlour is also undergoing a makeover with many new artefacts on display. See if you can spot the differences! 

• Allen House Restoration

Thanks to the Peace River Regional District’s grant-in-aid, we have funds to start renovations on the interior of the Allen House. Volunteers have been working to remove trim and we hope to fix up the walls and upper floor this summer in preparation for exhibits in 2022 or 2023! Restoring a historic building is very time-consuming and expensive. We are thankful for a series of grants through the Peace River Regional District that have enabled us to construct the foundation for this building; move the building; and replace the roof, door, and windows to make it watertight.

Gift Shop

We have several new books on Canadian Indigenous history in the museum gift shop. Seen but Not Seen explores the history of Indigenous marginalization and why non-Indigenous Canadians failed to recognize Indigenous societies and cultures as worthy of respect. Donald B. Smith presents the commentaries of sixteen influential Canadians – including John A. Macdonald, George Grant, and Emily Carr – who spoke extensively on Indigenous subjects. Supported by documentary records spanning two centuries, this book covers fresh ground in the history of settler-Indigenous relations.

Treaty Words by Aimée Craft affirms the importance of understanding an Indigenous perspective on treaties and is accompanied by beautiful illustrations. On the banks of the river that have been Mishomis’s home his whole life, he teaches his granddaughter about treaties—the bonds of reciprocity and renewal that endure for as long as the sun shines, the grass grows, and the rivers flow.

The Story of the Blackfoot People: Niitsitapiisinni is the first piece of permanent documentation written by the leaders of the Blackfoot community (in conjunction with the Glenbow Museum in Calgary) about Blackfoot life and history. Revealing the enduring strength and fortitude of spirit of the Blackfoot people, this book will have meaning for both native and non-native readers alike.

Purchases from the museum gift shop help us to preserve and present the history of the North Peace. Support us by telling a friend or neighbour about our gift shop today!

Archives & Collections  

Our newspaper scanning volunteers have scanned and indexed 26 years of the Alaska Highway News so far and have begun scanning the 1970s! Our museum summer student, Paulette Auger, is giving them a hand as well as cataloguing historic photographs. Our Sue Popesku Archives students start their work at the beginning of June scanning and indexing Sue’ collection of papers and photographs relating to local arts, culture, and heritage groups into a free online database. Our archives volunteers continue to scan and catalogue the Schubert negatives (a huge lot of over 2000 images taken by local photographer Rudy Schubert in the 1940s-1960s).

Share Your Covid-19 Experience

As BC’s vaccination campaign is underway, the Fort St. John North Peace Museum is looking for your stories and photographs of living in a pandemic world. Items, stories, journals, photographs, etc. that connect to the Covid-19 pandemic can be dropped off at the museum or submitted by email to fsjnpmuseum@fsjmail.com.


Heather Sjoblom is manager and curator of the Fort St. John North Peace Museum.