Programs

Blog

Blog

Posted by: Viviane Gosselin on March 17, 2017 at 5:21 pm

As part of our exploration on the relationship between public and private collections in All Together Now, I conducted an interview with Heather Gordon, Vancouver City Archives.

Major James Skitt Matthews - Vancouver historian, collector, featured in All Together Now

I wanted to know more about Vancouver’s first historian and collector, Major James Matthew (1878- 1970) whose work continues to have a huge impact on Vancouver’s historiography. Local historians, filmmakers, authors and other creatives researching Vancouver’s past are bound to stumble upon Major Matthews’ extensive records.

Heather’s insights and knowledge of Major Matthew’s collection were most helpful:

Viviane: How did Matthews started collecting?

Heather: Major Matthews arrived in Vancouver in 1898, twelve years after the city’s incorporation. Shortly after his arrival, he began writing about Vancouver. To get information, he searched old maps and spoke with old-timers. In the process, Matthews became acutely aware of the imminent loss of the Vancouver’s “pioneers” and of the city’s rapid transformation. He saw himself as the champion of Vancouver’s history.

Viviane: As someone who is surrounded by his collection and is constantly interacting with it, how would you describe Major Matthews’ collecting philosophy, in three words:

Heather: Eccentric – both the items he collected and how he catalogued them. Even today, some things are almost undiscoverable unless you 'think like Major Matthews.'

Subjective – he was the quintessential collector-archivist. He collected what he wanted to collect, interpreted it and edited it. He worked exactly opposite the way professional archivists work today. We leave the interpretation to our researchers. Not so the Major.

Militaristic -- he loved anything military.

Viviane: What would you say is one of Matthews’ most important contribution to the city archives?

Heather: His collection forms the core of the Archives’ private-sector holdings, holdings that have grown substantially since his death. Those holdings complement the City government records in our care, and are crucial for telling the non-government side of the story of Vancouver’s development.

Viviane: Could you tell us a bit more about the digitization of the collections of books Early Vancouver?

Heather: Early Vancouver is one of the most used resources at the Archives and we wanted to make it more widely accessible. Written between 1931 and 1956, and over 3,300 pages, it is a collection of Matthews’ interviews with pioneers, along with annotated photographs and maps and transcriptions of letters and newspaper articles. What you see online is actually a transcription of the text, not a digitized version. The paper Matthews used was too thin and his typewriter ink too blurry to result in a scanned image we could keyword index. Funded by the Vancouver Historical Society, hundreds of hours of transcription was the answer, with digitized versions of the photos and maps added to the transcribed version.

Viviane: Could you mention a few examples of people (not just historians) using Matthews’ archives for their work (you can be as specific or generic as you want)

Heather: Academics, of course, but also bloggers and social media enthusiasts who love to feature his photographs. The photos are also popular among business owners (particularly restaurateurs) who exhibit large reproductions of his photos, complete with his handwritten annotations, on their walls. One of my favourite uses, though, is by author Lee Henderson. He consulted Early Vancouver extensively in order to evoke the Vancouver of 1886 for his novel The Man Game.

All Together Now: Vancouver Collectors and Their Worlds features Major Matthews' collection of Vancouver history.

All Together Now: Vancouver Collectors and Their Worlds featuring Major James Matthews’ collection closes Sunday, March 19.

 

 

 

Posted by: Angela Yen on January 20, 2017 at 4:10 pm

Angus McIntyre and Lyanne Smith collect public transportation memorabilia from all over Canada and U.S.A. - with a focus on Vancouver.

McIntyre's collection includes artefacts as large as fare boxes and as small as transit tokens. Smith's collection is more focused on paper media and small collectables issued between 1890 and 2000 by the various operating companies. Together their collections paint a detailed timeline of the province's transportation system. In the video below, McIntyre shares how the old fare boxes from the 1950s and 1960s worked, and how the prominence of paper money made them obsolete by the 1970s. McIntyre and Smith's collections are now on display as part of the All Together Now exhibition - on through March 19, 2017.

 

Angus McIntyre
Greater Vancouver Public Transit Memorabilia

Why do you collect?
I started my 41-year career as a Vancouver bus driver in 1969, so I had access to many bus parts after they were retired from service. I was able to save items that appealed to me for their design, engineering and historic value. Brill trolley buses were my focus because I drove them for 15 years.

How do you collect?
My first foray into collecting occurred when I was 18. I went with a friend to a scrap yard in South Burnaby. We paid a modest sum to salvage items from old Brill trolley buses. As time went on, I added to my collection through contacts in the transit system or through other collectors.

How does your collection relate to you?
My collection is directly connected to my job as a bus driver.

How does your collection relate to Vancouver?
Most of my transit collection dates from after 1955, the date the last streetcar ran.

How does your collection connect you with people?
It provides me with a way to share my knowledge of the transit system with transit enthusiasts and friends. When I give a talk, I illustrate my presentation by showing objects to the audience. I’ve also developed an extensive network of transit collectors over the years. I was fortunate to have mentors 50 years ago who took the time to explain Vancouver’s transit history to me. I am now in a position to mentor a younger generation of transit collectors.

Lyanne Smith and Angus McIntyre - public transportation collectors
Photo by Rebecca Blissett

Lyanne Smith
Greater Vancouver and Victoria Public Transit Memorabilia

Why do you collect?
I began collecting during my career at BC Hydro and continued when I worked with BC Transit and SkyTrain. In 1990, I met several old conductors and motormen who worked for BC Electric. I was moved by their stories and as a result, my collecting took on a more personal approach. I now collect to preserve the history of the employees who built the transit system in Vancouver and region.

How do you collect?
I acquired most of my collection while working at BC Transit. Retired employees and their families donated many items. I also obtained several through antique dealers. At one time, I had a dealer who would source out unique and rare items for me.

How does your collection relate to you?
Together, my husband and I have over 78 years of transit experience. The collection is very meaningful to us because the transit industry has played a huge role in our lives. We met many of our closest friends during our careers, so when we show the collection, it’s like a trip down memory lane!!

How does your collection relate to Vancouver?
It tells the story of Vancouver’s public transit system. It also talks about the employees who worked for the various companies that operated the system.

How does collecting connect you with people?
Over time, I’ve connected with several public transit employees and their families who were eager to share their experiences in the industry. I also engage with the general public, who are keen to learn more about this aspect of their city’s history.


 

Posted by: Angela Yen on January 12, 2017 at 2:58 pm


Photo by Rebecca Blissett

What do you collect?
I collect anything related to Expo 67 to keep alive the incredible memories I have of this event.

Why do you collect?
Expo 67 changed my life. As a teenager, this event greatly expanded my horizons and my interest in different cultures, architecture and in Canada’s place in the world. I found the concept of showcasing state-of-the-art innovations at a universal exposition truly exciting. I was so proud that Canada was able to create such a world stage.

How do you collect?  
I mostly purchase online or at flea markets. On a few occasions, other Expo 67 collectors shared their items with me. Sometimes, the memories are what we share and collect.

How does your collection relate to you?
The coming of age of Canada, of its culture and architecture, its art and music occurred just as I was coming into my own as a young man. It channelled my fascination with Canada’s place on the world stage and made me into an inveterate traveller.

How does your collection relate to Vancouver?
I have met many Vancouverites who trekked out to Montreal to enjoy Expo 67 as the highlight of Canada’s Confederation celebrations. They all have stories to tell and relish their experiences. Their pride in the Canadian-ness of the event justifies my own.

How does collecting connect you with people?
So many Canadians came together for this significant event. Canadians were vindicated by our success in pulling together a world-quality exposition—on a scale even Americans at that point had not achieved. Europe took notice, and Canada was able to stand high and proud. Anyone who attended Expo 67 can say as much.


Upcoming Event: Celebrating Expo 67 with Maurice Guibord

Guibord and All Together Now curator Viviane Gosselin acknowledge the 50th anniversary of Expo 67 with insights, memories and collectables from this ground-breaking Canadian event, on Thursday, January 19 at 7pm. More details here.
Posted by: Angela Yen on December 20, 2016 at 4:36 pm

Our current feature exhibition, All Together Now: Vancouver Collectors and Their Worlds features 20 incredible collections including more than 2,000 nostagia filled vintage toys from collector Angus Bungay.

Children and adults alike love browsing the shelves upon shelves of retro toys. They either reinforce the longevity and popularity of some these iconic characters - Teenage Muntant Ninja Turtles, The Simpsons, Batman etc. - or they bring back fond memories of playing with these exact same toys.

In spirit of the holidays we've picked five toys directly from our childhood.

1) I distinctly remember having the mail carrier Smurf holding an envelope with a heart on it and also the Smurf playing the horn which is in the photo below.

 

2) With two older brothers action figures were no stranger to my childhood. The Batman collection reminds of  a very cool Batmobile set my brother had and watching Fox Sunday Morning cartoons with him.

 

3) Though I never had actual Simpsons toys growing up, the TV show was a big part of my upbringing. As a die hard fan of the show it was very neat to see the extensive line of Simpsons toys which I never knew existed.


 

4) Seeing this Chicken McNugget toy was very exciting because it was toy I kept recalling as a teen and young adult but had almost forgotten what the toy looked like. I've always liked small containers and boxes so I remember liking that the box actually opened and was functional, and that the nuggets could be taken in and out from it, instead of them just being glued/attached to the bottom.

 

5) Also from the McDonalds collection, this little guy gave me nightmares as a kid! I'm glad I was able to confront him and face my fears. Though he's still a little scary.

 

Posted by: Angela Yen on November 21, 2016 at 5:07 pm


On November 17, 2016 the Museum of Vancouver invited another All Together Now contributor to stop by and discuss their passions and what they collect. Rob Frith, owner of Neptoon Records and a collector of hundreds of rare gig concert posters, expanded the focus of the talk to the era of music he loves - the 1960s and1970s.

Joining Frith was local music icon, Howie Vickers of the psychedlic group The Collectors. Together they chatted about Vickers's start in the music industry and what the music scene was like in Vancouver during the heyday of the psychedelic era. 


The discussion extended to the audience who shared their own memories and asked detailed questions about Vickers's first hand experience of "making it" in the industry. The audience included interviewer and music enthusiast, Nardwuar who was eager to ask a few questions himself including what it was like to open for eclectic singer/songwriter Tiny Tim (see video below). 

Thank you to Frith for conducting a fascinating and personal look at the Vancouver music scene and for giving the audience a taste of what the times felt and looked like with a series of gorgeous concert handbills that are now available for purchase at the MOV Gift Shop.

You can check out more of Frith's collection in the exhibition All Together Now: Vancouver Collectors & Their Worlds, on view until January 8, 2017.

Click HERE for more photos from the event.

 

Posted by: Angela Yen on October 11, 2016 at 4:57 pm


On Thursday October 6, the Museum of Vancouver got to know another fascinating collector featured in current exhibition All Together Now: Vancouver Collector & Their Worlds. Kyle Seller's vintage pinball machines including, Funhouse (1988), Cyclone (1988) and Jack-Bot (1995) and classic arcade games like Donkey Kong are on display and also available to public to try out and play! Seller was joined by the current International World Pinball Champion, Robert Gagno and pinball expert and moderator of the night, Tommy Floyd. Together they walked the guests through the pinball room discussing the development of the game over the years, the history of each individual machine and how they got invovled in the world of pinball.


The night capped off with Seller opening up one of the machines revealing the inner workings of a dot-matrix-display (DMD) pinball machine, and Gagno's intense playing demo where he gave a glimpse into how a pro pinballer plays the game.

Be sure to check out our other upcoming pinball events: Happy Hour: TILT! Public Pinball Tournament and WIZARD MODE: Special film screening

 

 

Posted by: Angela Yen on September 26, 2016 at 10:50 am


Photo by Rebecca Blissett

The Museum of Vancouver is thrilled that Imogene Lim is sharing her collection of Chinese restaurant menus and her fascinating insight into Chinatown’s historic restaurants like WK Gardens and the original Sai Woo Chop Suey. Her collection of Chinese menus - which she inherited from her uncle and father - represent more than just nostalgia. As she highlighted in her recent presentation at the Museum, menus hold a tangible trace into the evolution of Chinese cuisine in North America.

Lim, who is a professor of Anthropology and Global Studies at Vancouver Island University is interested in the way food is represented and how that representation may change over time. She pays attention to the language, imagery and iconography used in the menus she collects. Lim is a real foodie and explained in her presentation that her menu collecting goes hand-in-hand with the actual dining experience. Her collecting has often inspired conversations on what is considered authentic Chinese cuisine and where in the city has the best dishes.

Lim’s extensive Chinese menu collection is now on view as part of the exhibition, All Together Now: Vancouver Collectors & Their Worlds.

Tags
Posted by: Angela Yen on September 21, 2016 at 4:03 pm


Photo by Rebecca Blissett

If you summoned all the pinball wizards in Canada, you’d definitely cross paths with Kyle Seller of East Van Amusements. Currently, his collection of vintage pinball machines and arcade games  - which include Funhouse (1988), Cyclone (1988) and Jack-Bot (1995) - are on display at the Museum of Vancouver. And they’re not just there for looking at. You can play them too!

Kyle Seller has about 60 machines in total and has been collecting and building his business since he was a teenager. He bought his first machine when he was 16. What started as a fun social activity to release stress, has become a successful business that allows Seller to share his passion with Vancouverites. He restores pinball machines and rents out pop-up arcades throughout the city.

Seller’s love for pinball comes from all angles. He finds the skill-based game more challenging and unpredictable (than video games) but also admires the craft, art and music that goes hand-in-hand with pinball. “The games I like best are from the mid to late ‘80s and use hand-drawn art… it cannot be matched today,” Seller says.

To celebrate these beloved games, MOV will be hosting pinball events on October 6 and 13, and November 1.  First, Seller - along with international pinball tournament champion Robert Gagno - will be participating in an enticing Q&A session, Between the Bumpers, moderated by Tommy Floyd. On October 13, the public can get their game on with our happy hour event and pinball tournament TILT! Public Pinball Tournament - hosted by Seller and local pinball tournament director Rob Moller. Lastly, MOV is hosting a screening of Wizard Mode - a documentary about Robert Gagno and his passion for pinball.

 

Posted by: Angela Yen on August 29, 2016 at 1:44 pm


Art Lingren. Photo by Rebecca Blissett

On Tuesday, August 23 the Museum of Vancouver hosted another "Me and My Collection" event. Tuesday's in depth presentation featured fly fishing expert and collector, Art Lingren. Lingren shared his stories and experiences fishing across BC, Alaska, Washington and Oregon. Slides displayed various tackle tying techniques and styles.
 

Lingren's detailed collection of antique tackles are currently on display at MOV as part of the exhibition, All together Now: Vancouver Collector's & Their Worlds. Learn more about Lingren's collection with this exclusive interview:

Q&A with Art Lingren

Why do you collect?
Fly fishing has a rich heritage going back centuries, much of it British. I collect items that connect me with that rich British and British Columbian heritage.

I have become what many consider an authority on B.C. fly fishing history, using the knowledge I’ve gained to write books and articles about B.C. flies, fly tying, fly fishing equipment, fly fishing pioneers and the waters they fished.

How do you collect? 
I select items from sources in the fly fishing community, such as fly shops, antiquarian booksellers, and tackle dealers. Also, I belong to fly fishing clubs and organizations whose members often have items I can acquire through them.

How does your collection relate to you?
I value my fly fishing heritage. Collecting these items connects me to my past and, more specifically, to great B.C. anglers such as General Money, Tommy Brayshaw, and Roderick Haig-Brown; and it gives me a place where I belong. 

How does your collection relate to Vancouver?
Vancouver has been a hub for the fly fishing community for many years. The Totem Fly Fishers, one of two clubs I belong to, is British Columbia’s oldest, founded by Vancouver fly fishers back in the 1960s.

How does collecting you connect with people?
Most of my fishing activities take place through social media, weekly lunch gatherings, monthly meetings, and outings to rivers and lakes with other fly fishers. Through these associations I connect with other collectors.

Posted by: Angela Yen on August 3, 2016 at 12:30 pm


The Bovines

In the coming months the Museum of Vancouver will be highlighting several of the fabulous collectors who are currently part of our exhibition All together Now: Vancouver Collector’s and Their Worlds. Off the cusp of Pride Week, the museum will be throwing a Happy Hour event on Thursday, August 18 featuring Willow Yamauchi and her collection of drag queen dresses that she inherited from her father. He was a member of the drag troupe - The Bovines - who performed across Vancouver and the Lower Mainland during the 1980s. “I never saw my dad perform in drag. I was too young for the clubs. I wanted to understand why he did drag and what it meant to him. Collecting has helped me answer these questions,” Yamauchi explains. Discovering this captivating past led Yamauchi to participate in the important discussion of gender and sexuality.

Don’t miss Undressing Drag where we will continue the discussion with several guest speakers and reminisce and honour the glory days of The Bovines, plus a special drag performance from Peach Cobblah and Isolde N. Barron!


Photo by Rebecca Blissett

Q&A with Willow Yamauchi

Why do you collect?
I inherited my dad’s drag queen costumes when he passed away 10 years ago. I was initially confused by this accidental collection, but eventually I realized it was something rare and special that I needed to preserve. It’s a springboard for fascinating conversations with people who knew him. You can collect things. You can also collect ideas and people. My collection contains all of these.

How does your collection relate to Vancouver?
The Bovines were an important drag group in Vancouver in the 1980s. They raised money for people living with HIV and AIDS and increased awareness at a time when there was little government support. The Bovines were “out,” loud and proud, when it could have been dangerous to identify as LGBTQ.

How does collecting connect you with people?
People who knew my dad share with me their stories, pictures, and films of him. In turn, I am sharing my collection with the city in the hope it might open a larger conversation about sexuality, gender, and artistic expression.

Pages