Opinion: History helps us connect

Chilliwack Museum has unveiled a great plan to help new residents understand and connect with their new home. But why stop there?

Chilliwack has a rich and fascinating history.

For many people, however, it’s a history they never see.

The Chilliwack Museum and Archives is hoping to change that with an inspiring new plan: Provide a free membership to people who are new to the community.

As museum executive director Matthew Francis rightly points out, Chilliwack is a rapidly changing community. New construction and the latest numbers from the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board confirm that.

Every day more and more people are moving to the community. But do they understand what came before them?

The museum hopes to change that.

“We would like the Museum and Archives to be a place of connection where people can learn about the city – with its diverse stories, people, and experiences.”

Those stories stretch into the distant past, before the Europeans arrived, before wagon roads etched the landscape and before homes and farms began to dot the country side.

Today, evidence of that past is often found only in names and road signs.

And yet to really appreciate where we are, we need to understand where we came from.

A visit to the museum is a great place to start. (As the world acknowledges the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, take a moment to appreciate the statue of Piper Richardson outside and what it represents.)

But it’s not the only place.

Wander through the grounds of the Atchelitz Thresherman’s Association, browse through incredible resources like the Sto:lo Coast Salish Historical Atlas, or the Museum’s own Chilliwack Story.

Or take a tour through the pages of the Chilliwack Progress, which are online and completely searchable back to 1891.

As the museum director reminds us, Chilliwack’s history is worth exploring, whether you’ve lived here all your life, or only just arrived.