Museum head returns to his hometown of Chilliwack

Matthew Francis officially started the job this month as Chilliwack Museum's new executive director

  • Feb. 19, 2015 5:00 a.m.

The new head of the Chilliwack Museum and Archives fondly remembers learning the ropes as a volunteer at the museum back in his high school days.

Matthew Francis officially started his new job as the museum’s executive director this month, with a nod to his mentor, retiring interim director Ron Denman, for sparking his career interest in heritage and public history.

Asked about his vision as he settles in to his leadership role at the museum, Francis told The Progress he looks forward to a bright tomorrow for the organization.

“I think it’s about creating a future for our history and our heritage,” he said. “They have to be a part of what makes our community thrive and what makes it unique. Chilliwack has a great and rich history, and we need to uncover and celebrate that.”

Today Francis still has family ties in his hometown after graduating from Chilliwack secondary in 1996. He recently left a position with the Province of Alberta as the manager of municipal heritage services and Alberta Culture since 2008 to relocate to the city where he grew up, and take the ED job.

The first exhibit under Francis will be the upcoming Si:tel Coast Salish Baskets, Feb. 21. It explores the making of Coast Salish cedar baskets, as well as the trading and collecting of baskets, using specimens from the museum’s collection.

Getting to work with former museum head Ron Denman as a CSS student volunteer back in the 1990s was nothing short of inspirational, he said.

“It began my interest and journey in the field of history, heritage, museums and historical places,” Francis added. “It was really an inspiration.”

In his application for the position at the museum, he wrote, referring to retiring director Ron Denman: “I never properly thanked you for those hours you spent with me as a student volunteer from the high school, but I wanted to seize the day.

“That experience had a tremendous impact, and kindled something in me. I believe it set me on the path for my own career in heritage and public history.”

Denman has been acting interim director since last August.

“I will miss the place, but feel confident that Matthew can provide the vision and skills that are necessary to move the organization forward in the coming years,” Denman wrote in his outgoing message as interim director.

The public is invited to meet Francis at the museum in the Chambers Gallery with the opening reception of the basket exhibit on Feb. 21, 1 p.m to 3 p.m.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Twitter.com/chwkjourno

Just Posted

Chilliwack Visual Artists Association members upscale found items into art

CVAA group show ‘Upscale Art’ is at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre Nov. 20 to Dec. 28

B.C. man who murdered Belgian tourist near Boston Bar gets life in prison, no parole until 2042

Sean McKenzie pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of 28-year-old Amelie Christelle Sakkalis

Locally owned shops open doors for Chilliwack Christmas Craft Crawl

The 17th annual self-guided event takes place Nov. 21 to 24 at six locations throughout Chilliwack

LETTER: Rainbow crosswalk campaign shows ‘contempt’

‘A very sad chapter in the history of Chilliwack,’ says letter writer

Seven Days in Chilliwack

A list of community events happening in Chilliwack from Nov. 18 to 24

Three people deported after Surrey brawl caught on camera: RCMP

Police say they have been ‘actively engaged’ in the issue of youth fights in Newton since March

B.C. to advocate for frustrated, confused, unhappy cellphone users, says premier

Maple Ridge New Democrat Bob D’Eith to advocate for more affordable and transparent cellphone options

Workers union calls strike vote in SkyTrain labour dispute

Mediated talks are scheduled to begin Nov. 28

‘Very disrespectful’: B.C. first responder irked by motorists recording collisions on cellphones

Central Cariboo Search and Rescue deputy chief challenges motorists to break the habit

Daily cannabis linked to reduction in opioid use: B.C. researchers

Researchers looked at a group of 1,152 people in Vancouver who reported substance use and chronic pain

Bids down, costs up on Highway 1, B.C. independent contractors say

Rally protests NDP government’s union-only public construction

Members of little people community applaud change to drop ‘midget’ term

‘It’s not about sensitivity,’ says Allan Redford, the president of the Little People of Canada

‘Police incident’ leads Squamish RCMP to ask public to leave Stawamus Chief

People were told to expected a ‘noted police presence’

Most Read