Langley docents first ever to win provincial museum award

A group of dedicated volunteers who have been educating students and the community at Langley Centennial Museum for decades has been recognized with a prestigious provincial award.

A Distinguished Service Award was presented to the Museum’s docent team by the British Columbia Museum Association (BCMA). 

Township of Langley Cultural Services Manager Peter Tulumello presented the award to the docents on behalf of the association during a special meeting held Nov. 13.

“Our volunteers were up against some very stiff competition from much larger museums and cultural institutions,” Tulumello said, noting that the award recognizes the docents’ volunteer service to the community and the quality of educational programs they deliver to schools in the region. 

Being presented with the award was a huge honour for the museum and a significant accomplishment for the docents, said Jeff Chenatte, the Museum’s art and heritage educator.

“The BCMA has never before recognized a docent team for such a prestigious award,” Chenatte said. “By bestowing this award on this group, museum and cultural professionals in this province are showing they recognize the calibre and quality of services provided by our docent team and their commitment to excellence. We are now the standard to which all others cultural volunteer organizations aspire towards.”

The British Columbia Museum Association, which was founded in 1957 and incorporated in 1966, provides a unified voice for the institutions, trustees, professional staff, and volunteers of the BC museum and gallery community. 

The BCMA delivers programs and services to benefit its members and the community, and acts as the cultural information hub for British Columbia. It represents all museums from the Royal BC Museum in Victoria to the numerous one-room museums that can be found throughout the rural outskirts.

Each year the BCMA hosts a professional conference and workshops for its members, which explore best practices for museums, galleries, and cultural institutions. The conference concludes with an annual awards banquet where the association recognizes excellence in various categories. 

In 2014, a nomination for a Distinguished Service Award was made to recognize the efforts of a group whose capacity, dedication, and professionalism has been experienced for four decades.

Tulumello noted that two Langley Centennial Museum docents in particular have shown an extraordinary level of commitment: “Maureen LePage and Ratna Hira are pioneers in the truest sense when it comes to educational programs at the Langley Centennial Museum,” he said. “Both individuals started with us as volunteer docents in 1974 and remain active members of the docent team 40 years later.”

“This level of dedication is truly amazing and the Township of Langley is blessed to have such individuals championing culture and heritage in the community,” Chenatte added. “I have always believed that if you want to leave footprints in the sands of time, wear work boots – and this group has, for the past forty years!” 

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