A commentary from a Saanich resident with a lasting interest in history.
I was born in 1936 and grew up in England during the blitz. The idea that the story should be hidden from the public is absolutely abhorrent to me.
I came to Canada in 1965 to build a new future. I visited the Royal BC Museum for the first time about five years after my arrival, with my husband and my son.
The juxtaposition on the third floor of the Old Town and the First Peoples Exhibit was the most fascinating, as it provided a great time capsule in early British Columbia and in many ways helped me m ‘orientate after moving here and now have a historical perspective to draw on. .
The smells in the exhibits transported a person back in time and made you feel like you had lived the experience, which is a testament to how the exhibits have managed to transport you back in time. The smells stick to the memory very well and make the past seem like it has been brought to life and almost as if you had lived in that time.
Because of these factors, the third floor remains in my mind most of the museum’s exhibits. I have never seen an exhibit like the Old Town in any other museum.
The First Peoples Galleries were wonderful. The fascinating masks and learning about the way of life of the indigenous peoples, including their basketry, their methods of gathering food and the construction of different dwellings, as well as the spiritual intensity of their culture and how this was intertwined with their traditional art, especially stuck with me.
It would be nice if there was some more information about their traditional methods of sustainable land and sea management that we could learn from in the present.
I have always loved First Peoples and have worked with Aboriginal children in local schools. After seeing the exhibits in the museum, it made me realize how important it is to have good resources in libraries for indigenous children on their history, histories and cultural traditions, and also the importance to have an education of indigenous peoples in schools, which unfortunately schools lacked with books.
The museum’s exhibits also helped stimulate interesting interactions with their parents and showed how important it is to be involved with indigenous peoples, now being able to relate to their fascinating history and ways of life. traditional.
I have attended potlatch ceremonies and met many interesting Indigenous peoples including Chief Dan George who struck me with his kindness and was the perfect person to be an Indigenous Peoples Ambassador as he was loved so much of people.
I have visited the museum countless times with friends, family and guests and have always really enjoyed it.
I especially found it to be a great immersive experience for young people to get a feel for history and their place in it, which is available in few other places.