McBride’s museum mapping the past – with your help

by Andrea Arnold


Valley Museum & Archives curator and manager heather Zahn handles an old stethoscope one of the many hospital archives in the current exhibit. / ANDREA ARNOLD

Did you know the displays at the Valley Museum & Archives are not all permanent fixtures? The space is divided into several areas and the staff changes content on a continual basis. Some of the exhibits are brought in from galleries out of town, but there is always a local element on display.

The current local display delves into the history of the McBride Hospital. It outlines humble beginnings as a Grand Trunk Railway Hospital, serving only their male employees. The exhibit illustrates the steps leading to the hospital we have today with photos and artifacts.

This piece of McBride history will be on display until the end of December. To kick off the new year, the museum will be displaying the historic timeline of McBride schools.

Also coming soon is an exhibit of museum mysteries. The display will be an assortment of unidentified photos and artifacts that were unearthed in the move to the new building. This is also an opportunity for people to dig through their basements and bring in items they would like help identifying. “Our hope is that people of the valley will come help identify and, where possible, provide a backstory for these items” said Museum
curator/manager Heather Zahn.

Another project requiring community involvement involves a map of town from the 1940s. The map will be enlarged and hung on a wall in the museum and again, members of the community past and present are asked to come in and show museum staff where their family has lived. This is a project that will be ongoing as people come into the valley or move from one home to another, Zahn says. They hope this will lead to a map of the surrounding area as well.

The chain-link fence recently erected around the lot next to 521 Main is the future home for the machines that are currently sitting by the old museum
site across from the ball diamond. The museum will announce an opening date for the machine display in the spring.
The museum welcomes feedback and advice from local farmers as they plan the exhibit layout.

Looking ahead to the winter months, the museum will be continuing their classes, albeit less frequently than during the summer months. Two sessions to watch for are a cooking course with Julian Randall and an instructional course on the Bradley Smoker by Jim Chuipka. They are hoping to also run sessions for specific demographics ie: kids, adults only, ladies night.

The staff is looking for a few volunteers to help out and allow for longer hours. They hope to mirror the library hours and extend their hours from the current Tuesday – Friday 10:00am-5:00pm. Stop in and talk to Heather if you’re interested in helping out.

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