Posted by: Angela Yen on December 7, 2016 at 11:42 am

Woodward's department store chain operated in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada for one hundred years, before its sale to the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC).

In 1892, Charles Woodward established the first Woodward store at the corner of Main and Georgia Streets in Vancouver. On September 12, 1902 Woodward Department Stores Ltd. was incorporated and a new store was built on the corner of Hastings and Abbott Streets.

When The Hudson's Bay Company bought Woodward's Stores Ltd. In 1993, the Museum was permitted to salvage material remaining in the Hastings Street Store; most of the donated material was retrieved from the administration office area; the City of Vancouver Archives also retrieved a large amount of Woodward's material.

Below is the evolution of the cover design for the Woodward's Christmas catalogue. View more of the Museum of Vancouver's collection of Woodward's artefacts in OpenMOV.


1) This cover design from 1936 is graphic heavy with its two colour print and no use of photo. There's a play with typography and a constructivism influence that was popular in the late twenties early thirties.

2) This cover design from 1954 is still more graphic focus with the Santa Claus illustration and interesting candy stripped typography but here we start to see the introduction of photographic imagery.

3) By the late sixties the Woodward's logo had changed and they began using the same heading and wordmark treatment: "The Wonderful World of Woodward's Christmas Gifts." The catalogue covers also stuck to using a single photographic image that was very traditional and family orientated.

4) By the eighties the graphic standards started to shift again where the chunky and convoluted messaging is simplified and the logo is placed separately from the heading. The traditional family Christmas image remained.

5) Here the catalogue feels very eighties and is embracing the trends of that time. The imagery shifts to a young, rich couple and plays off ideas of consumerism and spending, rather than family moments and children doing Christmas activities.

6) This summarzing catalogue from 1992 utilizes early forms of computer graphics which we can see the designer having a little too much fun with since I imagine computer graphic programs were still rather novel at this time. There's masking and crop out of a tree onto another photographic background, use of a glow effect and over designed titling with the festive banner. We also see use of the iconic Woodward's "W" taking front and centre.

Posted by: Angela Yen on November 24, 2016 at 12:39 pm

This coin commemorates an important Pacific Northwest art piece. Its design is inspired by an argillite chest by Charles Edenshaw (1839–1924), who was a renowned artist and pivotal guardian of Haida culture. The chest features an intricately carved lion face with human characteristics and stacked 'U' lines - now considered key identifiers of classic Haida art.

The five-kilogram silver coin - with a mintage of only 100 -  is selling for $10,699.95 from the Canadian Mint.

The argillite chest is one of 70,000 artefacts in the MOV collection. It was orignally one of two chests purchased for $400 by Dr. Israel Powell - an Indian commissioner for British Columbia - as possible gifts for Queen Victoria's daughter.

Read more about this remarkable piece in the Museum's OpenMOV database.

Posted by: Viviane Gosselin on May 15, 2015 at 5:29 pm

Museums like to show off their collections to the public. It’s rarely the other way around. And yet, the Museum of Vancouver is now scouting for the nifty, funky, unique private collections in the region for an upcoming exhibition.

Since beginning the search I’ve had several conversations with some incredible local collectors. A few months ago, I came across Lyanne Smith’s collections on Vancouver transit history. Listening to her talking about her collection was mesmerizing. I got a crash course on urban history using the lens of public transit from the perspective of someone who knew the biz firsthand. Below is a short Q&A with Lyanne. We’re just warming up here! There will be more on Lyanne and her accomplices (a tight network of local transit historians and collectors).

Please continue to check our blog. We’ll be providing updates on the exhibition planning process, featuring more collector profiles and teasing out some of the larger themes that come up every time we ask the question: why do people collect?

Viviane Gosselin: How would you describe your collection?

Lyanne Smith: My collection is an assortment of transit memorabilia from the Vancouver/Lower Mainland areas.  The bulk of the collection consists of historical documentation from each of the operating companies, including National Electric Tramway & Lighting Company, BC Electric (BCE), BC Hydro, Metro Transit, BC Transit, SkyTrain, Translink and Coast Mountain Bus Company. Over the years, I’ve collected several thousands of items.

VG: Why did you start collecting?

LS: I started driving a bus with BC Hydro in 1975 and began collecting various pieces of literature about the transit system at that point.  The same year, my parents gave me two “Reddy Kilowatt” items used in BC Electric (BCE) promotional campaigns in the 1950s.  Since BCE was the forerunner of the company I was working for, they thought I would like these pieces. It kind of kicked off my collection.  My collecting became an addiction after I met several of the old conductors/motormen from BCE in 1990 during the centennial celebrations. Having met these transit pioneers, the collection took an even more personal look at Vancouver’s transit history. In some ways I felt responsible for preserving the memory of men and women who dedicated a big part of their lives in the service of public transportation. Collecting is an emotional thing for me: I get so excited when I pick up a piece I hadn’t seen before! I want to know the whole story behind it.

VG: What kind of collector are you, how do you go about collecting?

LS: I focus on fare/transit tickets, the Buzzer, employee magazines, and promotional material, but I also have coin changers, transfer punches, tokens, and other interesting pieces related to that industry. I was given a lot of items from men and women who had worked with the transit system.  I also had one antique dealer who looked for unusual pieces for me. I’ve always been very strategic about going to specific antique stores and shows as well.

VG: What are some of your favourite collection items?

LS: Two of my favourites are the “Reddy Kilowatt” pieces my parents gave me: my father’s tie tack (see below) and my mother’s earrings.  

Another favourite is the rarest piece in my collection:  one of the only -- if not the only -- remaining ticket from the National Electric Tramway and Lighting Company. This company opened in 1890 and was the precursor of BC Electric. (see below)

VG: Looking at your collection of transit archives, what do you think people living in this region today can learn from that history?

LS: They will quickly realize that politics have always shaped the development of transit systems; Vancouver is no exception. Lack of funding, increased user fares, and the nature of expansions have always been at the centre of debates these past 100 years.  When people start delving into the historical literature and primary sources on Vancouver transit, they can see that every decade or two, new ideas were introduced for addressing those issues, so that the system could be maintained and expanded; it’s very typical of any transit system.  The thing I would like people to remember about the history of transit in Greater Vancouver is the front line employees who made the system run.  Without them, there would be no transit system in the Greater Vancouver area.

Posted by: Viviane Gosselin on May 7, 2015 at 10:44 am

Call to Collectors for Upcoming Exhibition at the Museum of Vancouver

We want to know about your collection, the idea behind it and how it all started.

The Museum of Vancouver is working on a temporary exhibition project that will feature Vancouver-based collectors and their collections. The museum wants to explore the mindset of these passionate “hunters and gatherers” and showcase their favourite pieces.

The collections might focus on Vancouver but they don’t have to. We are interested in learning how the collections came to be and what they bring to the lives of the people who create them. We are looking for interesting, beautiful, rare, unconventional collections: small, big, noisy, musical, historical, digital, analogue – surprise us!

This project will generate new discussion about the future of collecting, and the role of private collectors as memory keepers and makers.

Please fill out this form (PDF) and email back to Viviane Gosselin:

The deadline for submitting your collection profile is September 30. 2015.

Photo above from Lyanne Smith's collection.

Posted by: Amanda McCuaig on May 15, 2013 at 3:46 pm

In recent years, the MOV has received funding from the BC History Digitization Program, run by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at UBC.  The aim of the program is to promote increased access to British Columbia’s historical resources.  For us, that means photographing the objects in our collection and making those images accessible to the public at  This year’s round of digitization focused on objects from the Vancouver History Collection.  Two sets of artefacts in particular caught my eye.  They both involve long-standing Vancouver institutions (though one is now defunct) awarding their employees with jewelry for extended years of service.    

The first set, comprised of a tie clip, keychain, and a ring, belonged to Eric Nicol.  Though born in Kingston, ON, Nicol’s family moved to BC when he was two and he was truly a Vancouver boy, attending high school at Lord Byng and university at UBC.  After a few years away in Europe, he returned to Vancouver and became a longtime humour columnist for The Province, winning three Stephen Leacock Memorial Medals for Humour during his tenure. 


These three pieces were awarded to him by The Province; a tie clip for 15 years of service, a keychain for 20 years, and a ring for 25 years.  It’s unclear what company was responsible for the manufacture of the tie clip and key chain, but the ring’s history reads like a provenance hat trick.  Not only was it awarded to a Vancouver resident by a Vancouver newspaper, it was produced by Birks, which has, despite its origins in Montreal, over a century’s worth of history in Vancouver.

The other service awards the MOV has in its collection are from Woodward’s.  The company awarded its employees everything from tie tacks, to watches, to cufflinks and earrings.  Most of the awards in the MOV’s collection are for 20 years of service and the Roman numerals XX feature prominently.  There are a few tie tacks and a set of cufflinks, however, which feature the iconic script W that the company first started using in 1958.


It’s strange to imagine being gifted rings and cufflinks by one’s employer, much less working for the same one for over 20 years.  Much like being able to afford a house in Vancouver or making it through March without a rainy day, it’s not something that a lot of people see as feasible.   However, should anyone currently employed at the MOV still be around in 20 years, I’d like to see them gifted with our iconic white roof immortalized as a giant pendant from Birks, thank you very much.


The digitization of the Vancouver History Collection was made possible by funding from the British Columbia History Digitization Program at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, University of British Columbia.

Posted by: Joan Seidl on June 18, 2012 at 4:46 pm

On Thursday I  returned from Churn Creek with my coworkers, having completed repatriation of the petroglyph to the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation.  I am still coming down from the intense excitement, anxiety, and joy of the previous three days.

On Monday, June 11, after two years of work and months of intense planning, the MOV welcomed members of the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation, including Councilor Dean Tenale; elders Mary Boston, Theresa Jack, and Rose Wilson; and teaching staff, parents and children from Rosie Seymour School at Canoe Creek (returning from a field trip to Victoria). We had lunch in a wonderful room overlooking the water, where Wade Grant from the Musqueam First Nation welcomed everyone to Coast Salish territory. We adjourned to the rock’s location in the courtyard for a ceremony led by Chief Fred Robbins and Irvine Johnson from the Es’ketemc First Nation and Spiritual Leader Gwen Therrian from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation who lives in Vancouver.  Around the rock, the people from Canoe Creek and Dog Creek placed branches of sage, juniper, and wild rose, intense with the smells of the high grasslands. Gwen involved everyone in the ceremony, blessing Mayor Gregor Robertson and Vancouver councilors Andrea Reimer, Geoff Meggs, and Adrienne Carr as well as MOV board and staff, and sharing the pipe with the First Nations people.

Moving the petroglyph from the courtyard

We thought the next day would be easy: we just had to move the rock on to a truck.  We hired the very professional Pro-Tech Movers (who had previously moved totem poles and other large, awkward objects for the MOV).  Their crew of four guys arrived at 8 am and by 10 am had wrapped the rock carefully in blankets and straps, erected a portable gantry crane over it, and lifted it on to a palette.  Then, for the next six hours, we watched as the crew tried first one thing and then another to no avail: they could not get the rock out of the courtyard.  The courtyard is so cramped that their equipment could scarcely be used. Poor guys – struggling inside the courtyard while the folks from Canoe Creek, Dog Creek, and the MOV sat on chairs lined up outside the glass walls watching it all.

As the hours passed, we bonded in boredom, desperation and jokes (about the comeliness of the various guys and our apparent error in failing to bring in a team of ten horses, as used in the 1926 move). About 3:30 pm, Chief Hank Adam arrived from Dog Creek (he had to miss Monday’s ceremony because of a death in his family.) Chief Hank brought renewed energy to the gathering. About 4 pm to great applause, the forklift and come-along pulled the palette jack loaded with the rock out of the courtyard and into the lower lobby.  From there it was quick and easy.  By 5 pm, Pro-Tech’s large forklift lifted the rock gently on to the bed of the truck graciously provided by Caribou Interior Crane Services.

Returning the petroglyph to Churn Creek

I next saw the rock the following day, as we assembled with people from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation for the procession to bring the rock to its new resting place at the entrance to the Churn Creek Protected Area.  We walked near the back of the procession, following the school kids and leading the horses and riders, with the truck bringing up the very rear. The crane on the truck easily lifted the rock onto the resting place that BC Park Ranger Tom Hughes had prepared for it. It looked so small against the vast scale of the landscape.  How could it have confounded us for six hours back in Vancouver! The pecked glyphs that seemed so inscrutable in Vancouver showed up in sharp definition in the clear Cariboo air.

Elder Ron Ignace from Skeetchestn Band hosted the program which included remarks and a pipe ceremony by elder Arthur Dick and a presentation by Chief Hank.  In attendance, there were Secwepemc Elders and leadership from Adams Lake, Neskonlith, and Whispering Pines as well as a representative from Stl’atl’imc community Seton Lake.  There were a number of Tsilhqot'in First Nation supporters also in attendance.

At the end of the ceremony, they called up the four of us from the MOV (CEO Nancy Noble, Professor Bruce Miller of UBC, grad student Emily Birky, and myself), and the chiefs and Elders sang a song to us.  It was a playful song from the gambling game lahal that is used to distract and fake out opponents.  Chief Hank and Chief Fred Robbins had grins and twinkling eyes as they let us know that to their understanding they had used superior strategy to get their rock back!  There was laughter and tears, as the ceremony broke up and members of the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem approached the rock and laid their hands on it for the first time.

Make no mistake, there was a degree of anxiety in the air too. There were eight RCMP officers present; three were in red serge as pre-arranged decoration to the event.  The presence of the others had been requested by the Elders.  They had accompanied the rock from Williams Lake as there was concern that some members of the Tsilhqot'in First Nation felt that the rock should have been repatriated to them, and not to the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem, who are part of the larger Secwepemc Nation that includes 17 bands in the BC interior.

This is discouraging but understandable fallout from 150 years of colonialism in BC that has seen virtually no treaties signed with First Nations.  The Secwepemc and the Tsilhqot'in have overlapping, outstanding land claims, as do dozens of other BC First Nations. At the MOV we did due diligence to find the appropriate nation to whom to repatriate the rock. We researched the records thoroughly and consulted an expert in petroglyphs who knew the general area well. We approached the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem in good faith.  It is the MOV’s hope that the return of the rock will be an occasion for unity and empowerment among all the First Nations of the region. The decision to place the rock at Churn Creek may aid in this, as it’s a traditional gathering place and point of trade for many interior First Nations.

Meanwhile, back at the party, food (tons of it) followed - barbecued meat, corn on the cob, bannock, baked potatoes, and coleslaw.  There were giant sheet cakes decorated with frosting versions of the glyphs and the exhortation “Rock On!”.  An impromptu band played from the back of a pickup truck, including an ode to the rock created on the spot. Pretty soon we could hear drumming and singing in the distance, where a proper game of lahal had started. The teasing and baiting was intense as teams battled to bluff their opponents and show off their own skills.

Rock on cake

We left about sunset. As we drove away, we looked back at the rock. It looked right at home in that landscape, surrounded by the songs and drums of its people.

Posted by: Joan Seidl on June 8, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Museum of Vancouver conservation staff clean the petroglyph

For many years, I squinted at murky black and white photographs taken in 1926 showing a great petroglyph-covered rock as it was hauled away from the Fraser River somewhere in the interior. I despaired that we would ever know the rock’s original location with any certainty. It seemed that removing the rock back in 1926 had been utter folly. It felt against nature to even consider hauling a six ton rock from the interior of BC and move it to Vancouver. But driven by compulsion and arrogance (to my understanding), people did it, and the great rock now sits at the Museum of Vancouver after many years in Stanley Park.

For the last 20 years, the huge rock has lay in the Museum’s interior courtyard, its many petroglyphs slowly disappearing under a layer of moss and lichen. Next week, it will be repatriated to Stswecem'c Xgat'tem First Nations and taken back home to the Fraser River at Churn Creek Protected Area, about two hours east of Clinton.

The great rock has been on a long journey. In 1925, a gold prospector in the Cariboo named H.S. Brown came across the petroglyph partially hidden in a grove of cottonwood trees when he was fetching water near Crow’s Bar along the Fraser River. Brown was an admirer of the Mohawk poet Pauline Johnson who was buried in Stanley Park after her death in 1913. His original plan was to sell his placer gold claim and use the proceeds to place the stone by her grave in Stanley Park. When Brown was unable to sell his claim, the chair of the Vancouver Park Board, W.C. Shelly, stepped in.

Shelly wanted the petroglyph in order to add it to the collection of totems poles, house posts, and other First Nations art that he was assembling from throughout BC in order to create a faux “Indian Village” in Stanley Park. (Shelly was apparently indifferent to the fact that the government was trying to evict the real Coast Salish settlements in the Park at the time).

Moving the rock (dubbed the “Cariboo Monolith” by news reporters) was a massive undertaking. Shelly hired Frank Cross to bring the rock out over land. Cross worked with a team of ten horses. It took a month to drag the rock up the 3,000 foot ascent from the bank of the Fraser River. Then, taking advantage of winter snow, Shelly’s team hauled the rock overland to the Pacific Great Eastern railhead and then down to Vancouver, where it was placed in Stanley Park, near the totem poles. Increasing incidents of vandalism led the Park Board to ask the Museum to look after the rock in the early 1990s. In 1992, the petroglyph was moved from Stanley Park to the Museum’s interior courtyard.

In 2010, Bruce Miller, an anthropology professor at UBC who also chairs MOV’s Collections Committee, brought the petroglyph to the attention of the Committee. Bruce explained the contemporary understanding of petroglyphs as highly sacred objects that are integral to their original sites (the power is in the place as well as the rock), and encouraged MOV to work towards repatriation. Bruce brought in archaeologist Chris Arnett who specializes in BC petroglyphs. We shared the documentation we had with Chris. After researching, Chris advised us that we ought to speak with the Canoe Creek Indian Band, now known as Stswecem'c Xgat'tem First Nation, from whose territory the petroglyph had been taken without permission in 1926.

In September 2010 Chief Hank Adam and Phyllis Webstad of the Stswecem'c Xgat'tem First Nation visited the MOV to see the petroglyph and meet with our staff. In October, the First Nation formally requested repatriation. After working through the process required by MOV’s Collections Policy, the MOV’s Board of Directors voted to repatriate the petroglyph in March 2011 — lightning speed in the Museum business.

Meanwhile members of the Stswecem'c Xgat'tem scouted the banks of the Fraser to find the rock’s original location. On a glorious day in late August 2011, Chief Adam led us to the exact spot where the rock had stood. It was a powerful experience — the Fraser rushing by, the sun beating down, velvety hills all around. Even the skeptics among us (me) were convinced when we held up the historical photographs of the petroglyph move in 1926 and matched up the silhouettes of the mountains, ridge for ridge. And then, standing there, Chief Adam said, “Look down.” At our feet were more rocks with petroglyphs — as the Stswecem'c Xgat'tem First Nation say, “sister rocks”. This was the place.

That brings us to today. We have been invited to join Chief Adam and the members of the Stswecem'c Xgat'tem First Nation to the ceremony on June 11 that will begin the rock’s journey home. Over the past weeks, MOV’s conservator Carol Brynjolfson has carefully removed the moss and lichen. On June 12 Pro-Tech industrial movers will move the rock through the museum and on to a waiting truck for transport to Churn Creek. Then on Wednesday, June 13 it will be welcomed home by the Stswecem'c Xgat'tem First Nation at a ceremony at Churn Creek to which all are invited. I will be there, filled with joy to see this important work to completion. 

Posted by: Jillian Povarchook on February 23, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Vancouver olympic legacy collectionRoughly five months into cataloguing and digitizing the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Legacy Collection, it can be stated that the process is a lot more exciting than it probably should be.  Along with the torch Wayne Gretzky used to light the Olympic Cauldron and the racks of intricate costumes worn by performers in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, there are also boxes of paper material containing years of licenses, correspondences, and memos.

It’s a common assumption that paper material seldom equals gripping material. But among the inter-office scraps are pockets of brilliance, such as a collection of sketches and photographs used as inspiration for VANOC’s signature “Look of the Games”: the sweeping green and blue graphic vistas peppered with prototypically West Coast and urban motifs. It’s inspiring to leaf through a folder and see how hand cut stencils were incorporated into a design that became a second skin for Vancouver during the Games of 2010.


Vancouver Olympics stampFor the philatelists among us, international post bureau websites have been scoured to acquire information regarding Olympic issue stamps. Blindly trying to decipher Cyrillic characters on postage stamps quickly lost its novelty, but it’s fascinating to see which sports countries chose to depict. Seemingly few pandered to their Canadian host. Most stamps feature skiing, whether alpine or Nordic, over ice hockey. A personal favourite are those from Hungary, which rival the Vancouver 2010 mascots in terms of a sense of unbridled joy (or cuteness, if we’re going to get really technical).

Speaking of the mascots, we have become well versed in the surprisingly elaborate backstories of Quatchi, Miga, Sumi, and Mukmuk. This is in addition to charting their evolution from simple line drawings to 3D renderings to officially licensed Olympic merchandise and full-sized costumes.

Vancouver Olympics laughing quatchiWhile to date it has been fulfilling to discover these gems (we’ve got roughly another 1,200 objects to go), it would be a lie to say handling the medals and the torch hasn’t been a highlight. The medals are astoundingly heavy; frankly, it’s a wonder exhausted athletes didn’t crumple under their weight. Even more astonishing are the number of hands both the medals and the torch passed through, from their inception to the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the nightly Victory Ceremonies.

Many of us watched as athletes bit down on their gold medals, or as the Olympic flame was passed from torch to torch. But not many of us got to watch as a print of an orca’s dorsal fin became a medal struck at the Royal Canadian Mint. The technical prints and sketches allow us to visualize the massive collective effort behind Vancouver’s Games of 2010. This is why the paper material ends up being much more gripping than one would initially expect.


Jillian Povarchook is the MOV's Collections Associate.

Posted by: Wendy Nichols on October 3, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Greetings from behind the scenes at the Museum of Vancouver. A born and bred Vancouverite, I’ve now been working my dream job as Curator of Collections for just over two years. Outside of work you’ll find me enjoying our local food scene either at the Farmer’s Market or one of Vancouver’s great locavore restaurants. When not eating, I do my best to take in our fabulous surroundings hiking, kayaking, or snowshoeing. 

At the MOV, I’m the one in charge of keeping track of all the artifacts and their respective stories. This is my first blog post so I thought I’d introduce you to one of the fun parts of my job. 

As Curator of Collections, one of my roles is to assist in the acquisition of artifacts for the collection. The best part of this job is meeting with the donors and learning about the story that goes with each object. Often, the item has been passed down within a family and so the details about the where, why, and when have become blurry or even lost. This will understandably happen. Sometimes, an individual will recognize that though his or her object may not be that old, what they’ve got is a little piece of Vancouver history that must be shared. On these occasions, we benefit by receiving the story of that object firsthand. 

One such case happened earlier this year. Long-time Vancouver resident, Bill Earle, was downsizing and came across his 1950 Admiral television set that he has been carrying with him on each household move for the last 60 years. He recognized that this piece both told a part of his own personal history of a boy growing up in Vancouver, as well as represented a period in television history by providing such a great contrast to the 36” flat screen televisions found in many Vancouverites’ homes today. MOV agreed that this was an artifact and a story worth preserving. Mr. Earle kindly wrote out the history of the television so that nothing was lost. 

Vintage adrmial TV set 

7" Admiral black and white mantel television set, 1948

The above television set was purchased second-hand in 1953 by Bill Earle. Bill was just 13 years old at the time. Living on Alma Road and attending Point Grey Junior High, Bill earned his pocket money as a bicycle delivery boy for Moran’s Drug Store on Dunbar Street at West 40th Ave. Over three years of working there for a wage of 35 cents an hour, he had saved an impressive $75 dollars to put toward a special purchase. Bill saw the TV advertised in the Vancouver Province classifieds and convinced his father to go with him to take a look. The asking price was $95 so Bill’s father generously agreed to chip in the required $20 to meet the purchase price.    

When larger TVs, 17” and 21” models became more readily available, Bill’s family purchased a 21” Chisholm and the above little gem wound up being stored (as a precious heirloom!) in the basements of three different homes until its recent move to the Museum of Vancouver.

Bill’s TV is now always accessible via MOV’s brand new on-line artifact database. Click the green openMOV button in the top left corner. To go directly to the record for the Admiral TV, follow this link.

A big thank you to Bill Earle and all our donors for the time and thought you’ve put into your donations to the Museum of Vancouver. Without you, we (and by that I mean Vancouver) wouldn’t have the strong collection that we do.

For me, I have fond memories of watching TV as a child in my brother’s upstairs bedroom as that was the only room in which we could get adequate reception. We didn’t have cable so there were just 4 channels. My first memories are of the Friendly Giant, Mr. Dress Up, and Sesame St. line up. The TV was still in my brother’s room when I was in grade six and discovered that we got Little House on the Prairie (!). The poor guy - I wonder if this is why we soon got cable and the TV was moved to the rec room. 

What about you?  What are your early memories of TV?  Do you remember when the “remote control” was connected to the TV with a wire? Or when Betamax was the hottest thing? Or what other kinds of everyday artifacts represent your piece of Vancouver history?

Stay tuned for more behind the scenes blog posts from MOV’s Curatorial Department.

Posted by: Erin Brown John on July 8, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Maori cloak repatriation

Kate Follington, MOV's Director of Development and Marketing shares some background about some recent repatriations at the museum:

At the end of a labyrinth of hallways in the Museum of Vancouver, behind two large double doors, 70,000 pieces of priceless heirlooms are hidden away. It's a breathtaking collection: historical wood carvings, First Nations masks, an entire wall of deer horns and moose heads, railway paraphernalia, and row upon row of carefully wrapped ball gowns. Sitting on shelves 100 feet deep and 10 feet high, the items have been carefully placed and numbered according to theme, ranging from textiles and gold mining, to gaudy neon signs like the Blue Eagle Café, just one of 55 signs in the neon collection.

Wandering past wide-eyed heads of elk, deer and caribou, there's an almost cinematic feel to the space. Vancouver's history, unfolding from aisle to aisle. But where did it all come from, who does it belong to, and who should own it now? Returning historical objects to their original communities -- a process known as repatriation -- is an arduous, expensive process for any museum, and not without controversy. But for the Museum of Vancouver (MOV), it represents a critical part of the growing role of museums in forging stronger cultural ties with First Nations communities around the globe, and it starts with a cloak.

Read the whole article at The Tyee.