A mural painted in sections by Colwood artist Rauymond Brunet

METCHOSIN’S PAST: Backdrop brings life to exhibits

Pioneer Barn Museum in Metchosin offers colourful historical displays

If you visit the Pioneer Barn Museum on Happy Valley Road in Metchosin, you may notice an extensive mural on the main floor, one that lends background to the many artifacts displayed.

In 1993, Colwood artist Raymond Brunet spent two gruelling weeks sketching and painting the 70-foot long by 7.5-foot high scene. Using house paint which took a long time to dry, he jumped from scene to scene, laboriously covering the chipboard base.

Starting at the door is old growth forest, leading to a team of horses ploughing the now-cleared fields, meadows with grazing sheep, barns and houses backed by sea and mountain views. The scenes are taken from photographs archived at the Metchosin School Museum.

Included are Shirley Wilde’s Gracefield mansion on Duke Road, built in 1944, the Weir’s home Crosby built in 1891, and the Witty’s barn at Bilston Farm, which sadly could not be saved from a storm in the early 2000s.

Displayed in front of the evocative mural is the Colwood Metchosin stage coach which connected Victoria to Rocky Point from 1876 to 1915, when it was replaced by a gas driven bus. The two-horse democrat coach, donated by the Ruths, was Dr. Jones’ mode of travel to the bedside of patients when house calls were the order of the day. There is also a large, stuffed prize ram from the Weir family proudly standing in front of a painted flock of sheep.

The Pioneer Barn also has rooms set in the early 1900s displaying artifacts both familiar and strange to our modern senses.

The Museum depends on a team of dedicated volunteers to clean the displays and give their time to host visitors throughout the year. Other dedicated people give their time to sort the books donated throughout the year, and those proceeds help support both the Barn and School Museum.

The old School House is open Saturday from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., while the Pioneer Barn is open Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

– Wendy Mitchell is president of the Metchosin Museum Society.

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