This 1920s telephone exchange is just one of a number of large historical pieces that Bill Silvester

Colwood history still needs a home

Organizing artifacts a big job for heritage commission

The 20th-century historical pieces that were left behind when the Goldstream Museum Society dissolved last year still need a permanent home, says Bill Silvester.

The chair of the Colwood Heritage Commission adds, however, progress is being made on that front.

“(The collection) is only in two places instead of half a dozen,” he says – Royal Roads University has provided temporary storage, as has Colwood city hall.

It’s been eight months since the commission took control of the artifacts, and with the help of Royal Roads archivist Caroline Posynick and View Royal archivist Chance Dixon, Silvester has nearly finished going through the accession records and is set to begin photographing and cataloguing the items.

The tricky part is making sure the pieces are properly stored and protected, he says.

“Because it’s been in storage for so long, a lot of it has been damaged, perhaps irretrievably.”

One of the other concerns was determining whether any of the items had to be returned to their original owners after the museum dissolved, but Silvester says that hasn’t been an issue. “According to the records, everything was given to the museum with no stipulation.”

Some of the items are Colwood-specific, and some more general to their time periods. Saanich’s Heritage Acres and the Sidney museum, among others, have expressed interest in some of the artifacts, which include old records, ploughs, snowshoes, stoves and other household articles.

“It’s great stuff for a museum display,” Silvester says. However, he’d like some of the items to remain in Colwood.

“Because we don’t have a museum per se, we would like to put certain items aside for a rotating display in city hall.”

An old telephone exchange is currently on display there, and Silvester says they have the ingredients for a 1920s-style kitchen setup as well.

The group is expected to finish initial cataloguing this week. A Heritage Commission meeting is set for the next few weeks to get input from all members involved in the project.

There’s a “ways to go yet,” Silvester says, a point to which Royal Roads colleague Posynick agrees.

“It’s definitely a process, but I think we’re getting there,” she says.

acowan@goldstreamgazette.com