– January 14, 2009
New Westminster, the oldest city in western Canada, has much to offer the history buff. Yet our overstuffed museums struggle along piecemeal, cramming 150 years into nooks and crannies around the city. It does not do justice to the stories this city has to share. The New Westminster Museum is an artifact in itself yet the vast majority of the collection is not available for casual inspection. The cramped but fantastic Royal Westminster Regimental Museum screams for more space – but it is never open anyway, so no one knows it is there.
And then there is the Samson V. She is a visible icon of our not-too-distant past, a beautiful example of machinery and engineering and a unique attraction for our city. Operated by the Royal Agricultural and Industrial Society of B.C., the Samson V museum ship operates on a shoestring budget and a lot of volunteer love, tied up to pilings next to the boardwalk at the New Westminster Quay. The city recently announced over $200,000 in funding for urgent repairs to the hull of the wooden sternwheeler so she could stay afloat, but should the grizzled old ship really remain bereft on the river, exposed to the elements?
Contrast poor Samson to the St. Roch exhibit in Vancouver. The St. Roch is the centerpiece of a larger museum project. It is the kind of meaningful attraction that has staying power and really adds value to a community. Yet the Vancouver Maritime Museum too is bursting at the seams and in need of a rebuild or a new home.
Imagine the Samson V, the Regimental Museum, the Fraser River Discovery Center and the New Westminster Museum enfolded into one installation, all housed in a single complex attracting regional, national and international visitors. This would be a Museum of New Westminster that would be worthy of notice, a place to celebrate the birth of our province and the people who built it.
With the Maritime Museum and the St Roch needing a new Home, a truly meaningful museum complex could be just what New Westminster needs. Haul the Samson V out of the river and give it a home with the St. Roch in a new facility, built between the river and the Columbia Street parkade!
The B.C. Museum in Victoria seems to leave out so much of the mainland story of the beginnings of this province, but a new federal, civic, and provincial joint project could really show it off. New Westminster is the first capitol of this province and its story as a city is at the heart of the history of British Columbia. This is the place to showcase our city, our province and our society. And the Samson V.
Latest posts by Will Tomkinson (see all)
- The loud side of civic engagement: Sapperton speaks out on EFry - July 3, 2012
- The New Westminster Quay Market is Dead. Long live River Market! - November 20, 2010
- Council Chambers Online: Resident says “Meh, it’s not that hard” - April 19, 2010
- At the Farmers Market, we are not strangers but neighbours - April 16, 2010
- DPAC seeks opinions on New West schools via flawed online survey - March 14, 2010
- Garden Nerd Series: Garden-grown food for a good cause. - March 9, 2010
- Hyack Your Health: Canada Games Pool, a Plan that Worked - January 18, 2010
- Federal Liberal Campaign Statement, Ken Beck Lee - October 23, 2009
- Friday night perogy dinner: Cyril and Methodius never had it this good. - September 26, 2009
- Changing of the Guard (well, at least the C.O.) - September 18, 2009
- Paul Forseth seeks Conservative nomination for Burnaby-New Westminster - September 13, 2009
- Wheelability Project Assessment Team on the Road. - September 13, 2009
- A Tale of Two Supermarkets - August 3, 2009
- 12th Street Festival this Sunday. Celebrate New West Neighbourhoods! - July 29, 2009
- Conservative Nomination Update for New West-Coquitam Riding - July 9, 2009
- Local Tories Set to Pick Candidate for New West-Coquitlam - July 3, 2009
- Canada Day! Yee Haw! - July 1, 2009
- Coquitlam City Counsellor Named as NDP Candidate for New West-Coquitlam. - June 29, 2009
- Community Garden Initiative Gathers Steam - June 9, 2009
- A Critical Eye on ‘Canadians for Reconciliation’ - June 5, 2009
- Pattullo Bridge Repaving Project Means Closures - May 28, 2009
- Ten, Nine , Eight….Royal City Space Program. - May 27, 2009
- BC-STV Not Supported by Voters in the Royal City - May 12, 2009
- Election Returns Favour BC NDP Candidate Dawn Black - May 12, 2009
- The BC Election Results Roll In. - May 12, 2009