Waiting for the train at Agassiz Station, circa 1940s. (Agassiz-Harrison Historical Society/Contributed)

HISTORY: Agassiz-Harrison Museum as community memory keeper

History columnist Lindsay Foreman introduces the Heritage Week festivities

This Feb. 17 to 23, our community and province will be celebrating Heritage Week. This year’s theme is Bringing the Past into the Future, inspired by this quote from The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO): “Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today and we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration, our touchstone, our reference point, our identity.”

The Agassiz-Harrison Museum is one of our community’s memory keeper institutions. Our mission is to reflect on and understand the stories, objects and circumstances of the past which has built our community. While our doors have been closed to the public for a few months now, our staff and volunteers have been working hard to review our collection items and figure out how we can better connect them to our community’s cultural and natural places on the landscape.

Our community and educational programming specialist Luke Kelly has been developing three unique educational programs to share some of these stories, providing community members with the opportunity to reminisce about days gone by with younger generations. We will be piloting one of these programs, which is linked to the many heritage places in our community, at our free Fun Family Heritage Day on Monday Feb. 17, 2020. This program is also connected to the four community walking tours we are developing that will launch this spring and summer and highlight the heritage of downtown Agassiz, downtown Harrison Hot Springs, the community of Harrison Mills, and the Old Cemetery in Agassiz.

READ ALSO:HISTORY: Honouring and remembering those who served our country

As part of our Heritage Week celebrations, we will be delving into the history of the Canadian Pacific Railway in our community, specifically the establishment and maintenance of the working yard and Agassiz Station building. Please come and share your connections to the station during our Speaker’s Night on Wednesday Feb. 19, 2020. Tickets are just $5 and we’ve got some great archival photographs and stories about the Agassiz Station and the agents who worked there.

Are you looking to connect with heritage through hands-on activities? On Saturday Feb. 22, 2020, spend your morning learning traditional Salish Weaving with Frieda George. We will have our basket collection out for viewing so we can work together to unravel the heritage of their weavers. Space is limited for this workshop, so book your space early!

READ ALSO:HISTORY: Honouring Ruth Altendorf, community champion

I often wonder what our collection items would say if they could talk! Wouldn’t that help us to better understand who made them, how they were used or maintained, the different roles they played, the owners they had and what they’ve observed while in our museum? We have a rich object and archival collection, which includes over 8,000 photographic prints, and we are always looking to learn more about these items and their connections to our community. We would love to hear from you to document your stories and memories for future residents of and visitors to the Agassiz-Harrison Valley.

Please feel free to contact the museum (604-796-3545; agassizharrisonmuseum@shawbiz.ca) to learn more about our February events and to book your appointment to review our archival and object collections. These items are maintained in order to share the many interesting stories of your community’s past!

– Lindsay Foreman, Manager and Curator, Agassiz-Harrison Historical Society


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