Greetings Chilliwackians! My name is Jane Lemke and I’d like to formally introduce myself as the new Curator of the Chilliwack Museum and Archives. I am thrilled to have taken over a wonderfully well-documented and well-organized collection from the previous Curator, Paul Ferguson. The next year or so will be quite a learning curve for me as I get to know the collection and the community of Chilliwack.
Right off the bat, I am beginning research on two new exhibits to be launched in 2015. One of which will be on display in the Chambers Gallery at the Museum which focuses on the economic trading of First Nations baskets during the latter half of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Photograph of a large collection of First Nations woven baskets. Photos such as this one exist in many museum's collections across the province, highlighting the commodification of First Nations basketry. Chilliwack Archives Photo PP503946
This fascinating part of our shared cultural history brought about a trading industry between local First Nations and the European newcomers. First Nations women often traded baskets for specialty items. For the Spences Bridge and Nicola people of Lytton and Lower Thompson in 1850, one large burden basket was exchanged for any of the following:
· One secondhand buffalo-skin robe
· One secondhand man’s buckskin shirt with fringes
· One secondhand woman’s skin dress with fringes
· One large dressed buckskin of the best quality
· One medium-sized dressed buckskin and half of a doeskin
· One and one-half fathoms of flat disk-shaped beads
· Two and one-half fathoms of flat disked shaped beads, alternating with large blue glass beads
· Ten cakes of service berries mashed and dried
· Ten cakes of soapberries mashed and dried
· Ten bundles of bitterroot peeled and dried
· One Hudson’s Bay tomahawk or ax
· One second hand copper kettle of medium or small size
· One secondhand flintlock musket
Stay tuned for more information on our upcoming exhibits!