Amid the clothing boutiques, shoe shops, book and candy stores, and other typical downtown retailers, you’ll now find a museum.
The Chilliwack Military Museum, run by CFB Chilliwack Historical Society (CFBCHS), recently moved from its location on Hocking Avenue underneath the Masonic Hall to Wellington Avenue, right in the heart of downtown Chilliwack.
Saturday marked the official opening, though they moved into the storefront near Mill Street about two months ago. In September, the society was searching for a new home, and one month later it announced that they had found a place.
The museum is home to more than 30,000 military items, one third of which are currently on display inside dozens of display cases. Some of the cases are hand-made from old glass patio doors, others have been donated to them by the Chilliwack Museum. Low-energy rope lighting is well hidden throughout the cases, illuminating the artifacts while saving the museum money.
Though their new home is smaller than the old, its layout is more ideal allowing them to easily separate the artifacts into different themes and display the items better, says CFBCHS’s past president Jim Harris.
With 20,000 artifacts in storage, CFBCHS will be able to regularly rotate the museum’s display so there’s always something new to look at.
They get donations on a regular basis, in fact, on Saturday someone brought in a wooden seal that was used to stamp the backs of chairs in the officer’s mess. Donations, and stories, are always welcome says president Gordon Wozencroft.
The museum is also home to a library of 3,000 books.
CFBCHS has been around for 18 years and has more than 100 members. Cost is $10 per year or, for those 55 and older, you can buy a lifetime membership for $100.
The Chilliwack Military Museum is located at 45915 Wellington Ave. Hours are Wednesdays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission is by donation.