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Fort St. John museum news

Canada Day activities, July scavenger hunts, and embarking on a new strategic plan
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Summer was parade season in Fort St. John. Parade photographs are fabulous as not only do you see historic buildings (usually on what is now 100 Avenue which was the main parade route) but you also see a variety of businesses and organizations participating in the parade as well as crowds and vehicles along the side. You wouldn’t get to park on a parade route in Fort St. John today! This parade took place in 1956. Fort St. John had been a village for nearly ten years. I chose this particular photograph because I love the politics at play on this float. What better than a parade to persuade citizens to voice their opinions to the village council?

We are happy to have more visitors as the province opens up again. We’re able to start doing some events and are thrilled to announce that guided tours and educational programs are available again starting in July! 

Behind the scenes we are hard at work scanning newspapers, digitizing arts and culture documents belonging to Sue Popesku, and embarking on a new strategic plan (see below). We have lots of new books in our gift shop, which are 10% off though July 4. A new museum website is underway and we’ve got some brand new scavenger hunts ready to go.

Events

• Canada Day - Free event 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Museum

This Canada Day, connect with your local history! Take a self-guided tour of the historic buildings and equipment and/or try our outside scavenger hunts at the Fort St.  John North Peace Museum. Discover the 1910 British Columbia Police Barracks and Jail (the oldest restored building in the North Peace). Explore a 1930s missionary chapel, replica trapper’s cabin, and pioneer cabin. Learn how our oil derrick, pump jack, and polio bath played a role in the history of the North Peace. Guides will be on hand to answer any questions and to explain the scavenger hunts.

Kids can search for items inside and outside these buildings in our photo-based scavenger hunts and match them to the area/structure where they found them. This photo-based scavenger hunt is BRAND NEW and premieres on Canada Day so be amongst the first to complete it! Older children and adults can learn more about our historic buildings through filling out our question-based scavenger hunt. Try either hunt as a family or a team. Our gift shop will also be open during this time. Please follow public health regulations. Masks are mandatory inside buildings for everyone over the age of 12. Register for free through the City of Fort St. John’s online registration system: https://anc.ca.apm.activecommunities.com/cityfortstjohn/home

• July Scavenger HuntsJuly 2 – 31, 2021 at the Museum

Purchase admission to the museum in July and receive a free indoor OR outdoor scavenger hunt included in the price of your admission! Choose from a photo based scavenger hunt indoors, a photo based scavenger hunt outdoors, or a question based scavenger hunt outdoors.

• Museum Yard Sale - Saturday, August 14 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Museum

It’s back! The museum will be hosting our gigantic yard sale in August this year. Find new treasures for your home and family. Final hour (2-3) will be fill a bag or small box for $5. We are looking for donations of books, household items, toys, sports equipment, movies, games, crafts, etc. We are NOT accepting clothing or large electronics and appliances. We cannot accept car seats or booster seats. Please hold off on donating furniture until July 8. Call 250-787-0430 for more information.

New Exhibits

• Indigenous Cultural ExhibitUntil July 7 at the Museum

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.

Upcoming Exhibits

We have two new exhibits in the works at the moment. Summer student Paulette Auger is working on a free exhibit for our display case at the airport featuring a variety of notable local women in the last 100 years. Curator Heather Sjoblom is researching our new permanent aviation exhibit.

Museum Gift Shop

Check out our great selection of puzzles from fuzzy puzzles and lift the flap puzzles to puzzles with dinosaur shaped pieces or glow in the dark pieces. Going on a road trip this summer? Don’t forget to stock up on our reusable road trip bingo cards, which come in four different types.

Are you looking to add to your local book collection? Check out Merle (Epp) Hein’s Memories, Moosemeat, & Mosquitoes: Coming of Age on a Northern BC Homestead. Hot off the press, this book traces Merle’s childhood move from Saskatchewan to the Peace River and adapting to life on the homestead while helping to raise her younger siblings. 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  

Volunteers and our summer student, Paulette, have been busy cutting apart the bindings from months of the Alaska Highway News in the 1970s so that these can be scanned. This is a time-consuming process and we are so thankful for the hours they spend removing staples, cutting pages apart, and getting ink stained fingers! We’ve scanned about 31 years so far (though most of those were pre-cut for microfilming decades ago). Our summer students, Catherine and Abby, have been sorting through and scanning hundreds of photos, minutes, brochures, clippings, and other documents that were collected by Sue Popeksu over the years. These items document the history of many non-profit societies (particularly arts groups) in the Peace-Liard region. The Sue Popesku Memorial Archives will be made public this fall. 

Strategic Planning

We are embarking on our fourth strategic plan, which we see us through from 2022 to 2024. We have a fantastic committee of five board members and five volunteers, but we need your input. This is your chance to have a say in what we do to build upon the services and exhibits we currently offer. Please take five to ten minutes to fill out this short survey, which will help inform our goals for the next three years https://www.questionpro.com/t/ATINzZnSo1 or fill out a hard copy at the museum. This survey will run until July 31. Need further incentive? We’ll be doing two draws of completed surveys. The first draw (all who participate by July 15) will be for a framed historic print. The second draw (all who participate by July 31) will be for our Signposts & Promises: Canada and the Alaska Highway book. You can also choose to remain anonymous. Thanks for your help!


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