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Fort St. John museum news

It has certainly been an unusual summer this year with Covid-19! However, it has been extremely exciting behind the scenes.
Peace River Suspension Bridge
The Peace River Suspension Bridge was a popular subject for both artists and photographers given that it was both a feat engineering and situated in an idyllic location with the gorgeous Peace River hills as a backdrop on each side. A.Y. Jackson, who was travelling the Alaska Highway to sketch and paint for the National Gallery of Canada in October 1943, made time to draw the suspension bridge. He had 20 minutes to sketch it before heading to Fort St. John to fly out. In his studio, his sketch turned into a painting commemorating this marvel of engineering. It is very different than this coloured photograph given both artistic license and the fact that Jackson saw it in the fall. Facebook/FSJMuseum

It has certainly been an unusual summer this year with Covid-19! However, it has been extremely exciting behind the scenes.

As I write this, Ideal Office Solutions is setting up our large-scale scanner, which we will use to digitize the Alaska Highway News and other newspapers and large documents in our collection. We have purchased Therefore software that will make the documents we scan searchable at long last! This will vastly speed up our ability to respond to inquiries and to do research for exhibits and about items in our collection. Thanks to the Peace River Regional District for funding as well as Ideal Office Solutions and Rimtek IT Services for their help with getting the technological side of things off the ground.

New Exhibits

• In Their Shoes: Our latest exhibit is up at the North Peace Regional Airport! Researched, designed, and written by our summer student, Beci, this exhibit looks at five pairs of shoes and their four owners (or makers). Discover the stories these shoes can tell about Nurse Anne (Roberts) Young, softball player Freda Murphy, BC Police/RCMP Constable Robert Miller, and moccasin maker May Dominic Apsassin. Beci has designed the signs beautifully. This exhibit will be up for the rest of this year. (The airport is very quiet if you go when there are no flights so this exhibit can make a great short outing during the pandemic).

• New Exhibit Signs: Heather has rewritten some of our permanent exhibit signs and Beci has graphically designed them. On your next visit to the museum, check out our new sign about beaver in the fur trade exhibit as well as the three new signs that make up our post office exhibit!

• Stretchers, Snowstorms, & Station Wagons: Early Ambulance Service in the North Peace: Our latest exhibit is up at the Fort St. John Hospital (in the lobby by the pay phone). It looks at ambulances from Dr. Kearney's Jeep and Alaska Highway Ambulances to the ambulance service run out of our Fire Department. Most of the exhibit focuses on our best-known ambulance driver, Ernie Carriere, and his experiences. This exhibit is free and was presented in partnership with the Fort St. John Hospital Arts Committee.

Archives & Collections

Our archives and collections are very busy behind the scenes. You only have to visit on a Thursday morning to find volunteers identifying photographs, scanning obituaries, responding to inquiries, and working on research projects. We’ve had 67 inquiries so far this year. Two of our volunteers are working hard to compile a comprehensive list of First and Second World War Veterans from this area and where they are buried. This has been something we’ve wanted to do for a long time.

Beci has finished her work with artefacts stored in our seacan. As of today, everything in one seacan is accessioned and their locations have been updated in our database! Volunteers have moved these artefacts and shelves into one seacan to free up space for new shelves to be installed in our second archaeological repository seacan. This checks a lot of boxes on our strategic plan. Thanks to Beci and our volunteers for their help in accomplishing this!

Share Your Covid-19 Experience

How has Covid-19 had an impact on your life? The Fort St. John North Peace Museum is looking for your stories and photographs of working from home, social distancing, and living in a much different world than what we were used to. Did you perfect a recipe? What was a trip to the hairdresser (or other business) like in a Covid-19 world? Did Covid-19 claim the life of someone you loved? We want to capture what this pandemic was like for residents of Fort St. John and the North Peace to document it for future generations. We are looking for artefacts, stories, journals, photographs, etc. that connect to the Covid-19 pandemic. Items can be dropped off at the museum or photographs and typed stories can be submitted by email to


Join our amazing team of volunteers. They help keep us open on Saturdays, do a variety of maintenance projects, answer inquiries or carry out projects in our archives, and look after the gift shop for us. We also need volunteers to help us get our scanning project for the Alaska Highway News under way this fall. If you are interested in volunteering or know someone who might be, please talk to Heather in person or by phone 250-787-0430 or reply to this email. We can tailor your volunteer experience to whatever area of the museum you’d like to work in and as often/long you want to work for. It’s a fun project for your retirement, can be tailored around your work schedule, or is great work experience for students.

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