Colwood Coun. Cynthia Day and Heritage Commission chair Bill Silvester hold up an antique milk jug

Colwood’s storied past left out in the shed

In a shed behind the building which houses the WestShore Chamber of Commerce is a collection of items revealing Colwood’s historic past.

In a shed behind the building which houses the WestShore Chamber of Commerce is a collection of items revealing Colwood’s historic past.

From an old milk jug to a plough and glass bottles to a collection of 78 RPM records, the items, acquired mostly in the 1980s, are what remains of a museum.

Now the Colwood heritage commission is trying to figure out what to do with it all.

The Goldstream Museum Society that formed in 1984 started collecting the items. The society acquired a building in 1986 in the current home of Veterans Memorial Park.

The museum had displays featuring an old kitchen, a farm scene, an antique telephone exchange (which now lives in Colwood’s city hall) and other examples of life in the past.

Over the years interest in the museum and the society slowly dissolved and in the early 2000s the group lost the museum space. The artifacts were then displayed in the bottom level of the WestShore Chamber of Commerce building.

In 2010, when the chamber needed its space back, the items were put into storage in a shed behind the building, along with a storage unit. In 2013 the museum society, now down to two people, dissolved, with the Colwood Heritage Commission taking over responsibility for the artifacts this past December.

Heritage commission chair Bill Silvester said decisions around the items are going to be made soon. Ideally both he and members of council would like to see a new museum space established, but the funding simply isn’t available.

“It’s kind of neat stuff. I think if somebody was interested in backing a museum, or establishing a museum, it would be great to have that sort of thing,” Silvester said.

Coun. Cynthia Day said there is a possibility of having a space in the preposed West Shore Community Arts Centre, if and when it is built. The centre, envisioned to be built in Royal Bay, would be a performing arts and culture facility bringing together at least 30 arts, education and community groups. The project is still in development.

A display at and expansion of Emery Hall at St. John the Baptist Heritage Church is another idea floating around.

“I would hope that at some point and time there’s maybe a collaboration on some museum space that we could all participate in,” Day said. “That’s probably a ways away, in the meantime we don’t want to lose anything.”

The first likely step will be to see if other local museums and archives are interested in the items. Colwood has money set aside to bring in archivists to go through the collection, see what condition items are in and itemize them.

They also need to sort out if items were loaned rather than given.

“We want to make sure that anything in the archives belongs to us and we know where it came from,” Day said.

Anyone who believes an item in the collection may belong to them, or anyone interested in getting involved, is asked to call the city at 250-478-5999.

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