Celebrating 30 years of deep-rooted history

The Agassiz-Harrison Museum and Information Centre is built on volunteers.

“The museum’s become a really important hub of the community

With the Agassiz-Harrison Museum and Information Centre’s 30th anniversary right around the corner, the volunteer efforts of local residents and members of the Agassiz-Harrison Historical Society are also being celebrated.

In order to understand the deep-rooted connection the museum has to the community, local residents and tourists alike don’t have to look much further than the avid volunteers that help with the day-to-day responsibilities and behind-the-scenes components of the museum.

Judy Pickard expects to see 46 locals volunteer their time helping out at the museum this summer, all of who allow the information centre to be open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“The museum’s become a really important hub of the community,” Pickard said, adding many stop by Pioneer Park to enjoy the community heritage feel the building offers.

The manager, who described the volunteers like “a group of friends,” said helping at the museum is a sure-fire way to “get to know your community.” and socialize.

The museum and information centre offers a look into the history of the Canadian Pacific Railway in Agassiz, period clothing,  photographs of pioneer life and archives of the newspaper, and obituaries.

However, with several seniors volunteering on a weekly basis, Pickard said there is also a lot to be learnt from community members directly.

As for the infrastructure of the museum, a lot has changed since the historical society bought the building for $1 in 1972.

The museum was originally a CP Rail station, re-built in August of 1893, after the first station had been burned to the ground.

However, in the 1970s, CP started to tear down its old stations, so the District of Kent was able to save the local building by moving it off CP land and out to the research station.

When the district took over the land that is now Pioneer Park, the historical society and district joined efforts to bring the museum back to its old location in 2003.

Since then, parts of the building have been retrofitted, including construction on the foundation, shake roof, and partial restoration.

The building interior had also been slightly modified to accommodate a gift shop, research library, and large gallery for displays and exhibits, Pickard said.

“Since then, the museum has become a major focal point in the downtown core,” she added.

To maintain the stability of the building, the society was able to focus on renovating the interior of the building, including the flooring of a few rooms during the last year.

These most recent renovations will be on display starting May long weekend, until Thanksgiving weekend (Oct. 10), when the museum’s season begins.

And on Saturday, May 28 members of the Agassiz-Harrison Historical Society are also asking local residents to join them in celebrating the museum’s 30th anniversary.

Cake and refreshments will be provided, as well as entertainment provided by Chilliwack Harmony Chorus and trivia games for local and worldly history.