Langley’s museum spotlights its hidden treasures

Sometimes things hold an important place in history, but they aren’t able to be appreciated due to space constraints. Such is the challenge of Langley Centennial Museum curator Kobi Christian.

With a collection of rare, unique, interesting, and generally local items on hand, but minimal space to show them, Christian wants the community to see some of its own history.

Fortunately, because the museum’s exhibits are planned well in advance, a number of lesser-seen items are on display for public appreciation until March 22, in a show called Collected and Curated: Artifacts from the Permanent Collection.

“We usually have four to six exhibits in here each year,” Christian said of the museum’s exhibit space.

“We try to plan a year or two in advance, so we planned this show.”

The items on display range from the familiar to the unusual with one common thread running through them: all have been donated to the museum to mark their role in history.

Of special interest to those familiar with the lumber industry are the coin-shaped tokens with numbers stamped on them.

“They came from the Fernridge Lumber Company,” Christian said.

It is believed that the tokens were a time-keeping and payment device that worked somewhat like a time-clock where workers would pick up their coin on the way in, then return it at the end of the day’s work.

“This was common in mills at the time,” noted Christian.

Another lumber-related item was found on a privately owned lot that was once part of the former Beaver River Lumber Company in Glen Valley.

“It was used to mark the end of the lumber,” Christian said of the metal stencil.

With Langley’s agricultural foundation, it’s not surprising to see a chicken egg incubator from a small to mid-sized farm on display.

“The incubator is from the Hall Farm on 84th Avenue,” added Christian.

An embroidered high school sweater and jacket are also on display. The jacket was that of Langley Heritage Society president Fred Pepin ,and features the Future Farmers of Canada logo.

“There is still a Future Farmers of America,” Christian said.

Unfortunately, there is little information on many of the pieces in the collection.

“Some of these things came in in the ’50s, or even the ’30s, but the records were not as good then,” Christian said.

There may be little more noted about an item beyond who donated it and what it is.

“All museums our age seem to have these types of things,” she added of items that lack recorded history.

Unique and beautiful are the Chinese court jackets, hand-painted May Queen lists, and hand-woven baskets.

To see a small part of Langley’s diverse history, check out the exhibit at the Langley Centennial Museum at 9135 King St. in Fort Langley.

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