Greater Vernon Museum and Archives has been recognized with a provincial honour for one of its education programs.
Gabriel Newman, the museum’s education coordinator, has won a Heritage BC 2018 Award for outstanding achievement in the Heritage Education and Awareness category for the museum’s Field School project.
“I am delighted that the Field School was recognized as it is different than many heritage projects which focus on buildings,” said Newman. “The Field School project focused on living heritage, the knowledge and stories that live in the communities within people. The projects celebrates the people who live here.”
Newman said the Field School project was designed to celebrate the intangible knowledge that exists in the North Okanagan by offering a series of workshops that partnered with businesses or individuals that practiced skills, or had skills, that are rarely in use today.
“The goal was to highlight that intangible heritage exists everywhere in our region, such as in businesses, on farms, in work sheds, or on beaches, rather than just designated historic places such as museums,” said Newman. “The projects generated a lot of publicity, interest and conversations and engaged a wider demographic that typical museum projects. The workshops also became multigenerational as they focused of topics of interest rather than age.
“In the end the school partnered with one business, one farm based business, a retired inventor, and a Syilx educator.”
A total of 73 people, ranging in age from child to seniors, participated in the workshops.
The Field School spreads recognition throughout the community on the value and variety of the heritage knowledge in the community as well as the history of the community. Through fun workshops and topics, with playful posters and an aggressive social media marketing plan, each workshop received widespread attention and discussion. The intention, beyond hosting the workshops, was to begin the conversation about the regions historic places and knowledge.
One workshop took place at the site of a traditional Syilx fishing camp; another took place in the midst of a grain field; others accessed downtown businesses and private shops.
“The projects highlighted that place-based historical knowledge and thinking is all around,” said Newman.
The Field School was organized by the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives but was run by members of local businesses, farms, individuals and organizations.
In the past year the Field School partnered with the Okanagan Indian Band, the Gentlemens Shop and Shave Parlour, retiree and inventor Garry Garbutt, and the Fieldstone Grainery.
“Ruby Alexis taught rope making, Fieldstone Grainery did the scythe workshop, the Gentlemens Shop and Shave Parlour did a straight blade workshop,” said Newman. “Garry Garbutt did the Morning with an Inventor, and Spinners Sound just did a turntable workshop.
“While I am delighted to be recognized, the success of the project is because of the workshop leaders.”
The award will be presented May 11 in New Westminster.