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My Idea of Tourism

October 14, 2015

I am clearly getting old and jaded, because instead of going to a local museum on my “vacation” this year, or a provincial park, like I’ve done in the past, I opted to … go to antique stores and help Dad with research for the book he’s working on.

There’s this interesting and occasionally unfortunate thing about museums, which is that only a small portion of their collection is ever displayed and when the curators create displays, they tend to do so with an agenda—showing the best examples of an artifact, providing a picture of a time or a group or activity, educating children, that sort of thing. Unless the displays are switched up regularly and you go back to the museum a lot, you never get a full sense of what they have.

I find this especially true of small town museums, because they tend to be in small buildings without much funding. Whether or not they have a collection in the basement, they never seen to have more than a handful of things on display, and the curators appear to be volunteer, since the displays never seem to have pizzazz or appropriate lighting.

This is not ideal in my books, but it is reality as I’ve experienced it.

So antique stores it was! That’s where you tend to see the piles of things, the old books you can flip through, and the strange and random objects. I went to three today, within an hour of each other, and I think I got a better picture of the area I’m in right now than I would have if I’d popped into a museum or two.

  1. This is a highly British region, if the Edwardian literature, coronation mugs, and Royal Albert place settings were anything to go by.
  2. This is very much a farming region, since there were a lot of farm tools everywhere.
  3. VHS tapes, Miss Piggy figurines, and McDonald’s souvenir glasses from the 1990s are apparently antiques now.
  4. So are rocks and antlers?
  5. A lot of toys have made it into the stores here.
  6. You’d think that nobody would ever buy gold-and-orange storage jars done up to look like piles of fruit, but you’d be wrong.
  7. All three stores had a jukebox and some form of Victorian music player. Two of them had old gas station signs.

And there was Dad’s research trip, which was nearly as interesting. To wit, we found an old church on the Native reservation.

IMG_7533I’d put this late-Victorian, knowing the area and the general architectural style, but it might be Edwardian, for the same reason. Colonial period, anyway. Nobody’s using it now, at least not for services. The front door’s locked and those aren’t curtains, those are plastic sheets that aren’t doing as good a job of keeping the rain out as they could be.

But the church does appear to be the local roadside Christmas decoration.


It was pretty neat inside as well, though I had to stand in rosebushes to get a look through the window with the least amount of sheeting.

IMG_7544I’m not surprised the wood stove is still in there, or the altar area, but the abandoned organ was a bit of a surprise. I’d have thought for sure someone would have wheeled it out and sold it years ago, or taken it to a museum. I guess nobody needs it.

I’m only partly surprised by the pews still being there.


Absolutely not surprised that the roof beams are falling down, though. It’s pretty clear nobody’s really looking after the place. A shame, in my opinion, but there you go. I understand that not everyone has my values or the funding or the motivation. It’s entirely likely that the Syilx don’t want the tourist traffic, and I can totally sympathize with and support that.

So that was my day. Lots of unexpected history and nostalgia, that’s for sure.

One last shot before I go…


2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 14, 2015 11:40 am

    Nice post. Your perspective is refreshing.

    • anassarhenisch permalink*
      October 14, 2015 10:17 pm

      Thank you!

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