Thursday, 5 September 2013

Summer Student Recap

Where does the time fly! Our two summer students have come and gone already!

We were fortunate enough to have Allanah return for her second summer with us. Allanah is in the fourth year of her Archaeology degree at Wilfred Laurier in Waterloo, ON. She hopes to specialize in underwater archaeology.

Artist and physics student, Alec, is returning to College of the Rockies in Cranbrook this school year.

Both students had lots to do and shared lots of our history with many very appreciative visitors to the Museum.

Here are some pics of the student's activities over the summer:

Archival Work:

Alec painting one of a dozen or so drawings he made of a local business as it was in the 1920s.  This piece will be part of a diorama depicting the storefronts along the south side of Spokane Street in the Platzl

Allanah finishing off the catalogue for a stamp collection.  Both students spent many hours scouring in the internet to identify the many stamps in this collection.

Nice page of ship stamps: Canada 10-cent full sheet of Inland Vessels, Scott numbers 700 - 703

Cancelled stamps from the Netherlands and India.

Learning more local history

Allanah and Alec reading up on the Platzl and 'Bavarianization' history in our main gallery

Stepping out Bavarian-style?

Sharing fascination

Alec and Allanah with a family of visitors in the 'household' gallery

Visitor, sensing the import of this 'end-of-summer photo shoot' of the students, gathers both for a pose.

Good luck to Allanah and Alec in all your future endeavors! We enjoyed having you at the Museum this summer of 2013.  Thanks for all your hard work.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

The Bavarianization of Kimberley, BC

  1973 marks the opening of Kimberley's Bavarian-style downtown pedestrian mall. 2013 is its 40 year anniversary!

1972 Deer Park Avenue, Kimberley BC, before "Bavarianization" - the lines down the centre of the street mark the planned water feature. Photo scanned from the original Kimberley Daily Bulletin

"Bavarianization" - to make, become, engage in, or use, or to treat or combine with the styles and activities of Bavaria particularly in regard to architectural facades, style of dress, festivals, music and culinary offerings.

The Bavarianization of Kimberley has not been without controversy from the start. The story goes that some business owners visited Leavenworth, Washington in the early 70s and, being impressed by the theme's economic benefits to that city, actively promoted the idea as a means of economic insurance and renewal for Kimberley. In the mid to late 60s, Kimberley's businesses were experiencing severely declining revenues. The downtown core was looking rather ragged and new businesses in Cranbrook were attracting more and more Kimberley shoppers. Also, the end of life was in sight of the City's main employer, the Sullivan Mine. People wondered what could be done to keep our little town vibrant and liveable so they could stay in the city they loved.

But, in fact, the discussions about revitalizing the buildings and businesses of Kimberley didn't start in the early 70s, it started earlier than 1968! AND actually, the first proposals did not suggest a Bavarian theme, but called for an ALPINE theme!

That debate is STILL going on, especially now that many of the facades are 40 years old, one of our turnkey festivals is no more (The International Old-time Accordion Championships), the mine has been closed for a dozen years, and, well, there have been a lot of changes in those 40 years both in our economy and the make-up of our population.

Back in February, 1968, the City hired urban planners from the Regional District of the East Kootenays to start the process of a new plan for the City. Planner Alfred Miller described the City Center businesses as "a deteriorating conglomeration of substandard buildings". The first committees formed called themselves the "Alpine" committee and were made up of local business owners.

Some did not wait for any official declaration of a theme and remodeled their storefronts in 1971. It was not until the fall of 1972 that the City of Kimberley jumped on the bandwagon and came up with money to landscape the platzl. Bud Buckle was the Mayor of Kimberley at the time. Once started, the transformation to a pedestrian-only platzl was finished within the very next year. Bavarianization was a fait acompli and many businesses, homeowners, and attractions soon followed suit, even dressing themselves and employees in mostly home-made interpretaions of Bavarian dress.

Allocating funds to the project was also very controversial at the time. Students at the local high school said they would rather have an indoor heated pool - something Kimberley did not get until many years later.

Celebrate Kimberley's newest festival, "First Saturdays Kimberley", by learning more about our Bavarianization through the myriad newspaper clippings and photos featured in the Museum's seasonal display on the back wall of our main gallery.

Also showing are some of the artifacts created especially for Kimberley in keeping with the Bavarian theme, such as beer mugs and thalers, as well as examples of traditional authentic German Bavarian clothing worn by local merchants.

Dianne Cooper, volunteer

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Curling Sweaters - Spring 2013

The seasonal exhibit up now at the Kimberley Heritage Museum is all about curling sweaters, bonspiels, and curlers. Most curlers had hand-made sweaters crafted by themselves or other local knitters to wear during weekly club play. The heavy knit 'Cowichan Sweaters' are a trademark style developed in the 1860s by the Cowichan people of SE Vancouver Island. First done in solid colours, patterns were added in the 1890s:

Example of traditional motif - Cowichan Sweater - (M. Stang, donator)

By the 1940s, knitting pattern and yarn companies such as Mary Maxim were offering patterns for the so-called Curling Sweater as well as other themed patterns:

Mary Maxim graph-style knitting pattern - "Bonspiel Days" - for Men

Nordic Sportsman's youth's and ladies curling sweater pattern

Before long, commercial manufacturers such as White Ram of Calgary, AB and Indian Art Knitting were selling their versions of the sweater in finer wool: 

Fireman's League championship sweater: Seagrams Stone National Curling Championship 1972 - S. Jereb donor

The machine-made types of sweaters were mostly worn during tournaments when they first came out.

Bonspiels always had a lot of socializing off the rink. Below is the type of outfit worn to a more formal dinner associated with a bonspiel.

Late '50s ladies suit

Bonspiel Programme from February 1939

Up now and until about the end of April, 2013, be sure to come in and see our collection of curling memorabilia and curling sweaters, most of which were donated by Ina Hansen and Mae Shaw (see National Curling Champs 50th Anniversary blogpost)

Dianne Cooper, volunteer