Friday, February 20, 2015

City News

The Future of History in Chilliwack

Ron Denman intros new Museum Director

Staff/Voice photos


Matthew Francis met the mayor and councillors last Tuesday at City Hall. Below, retired Executive Director Ron Denman ltalks about the importance of maintaining Chilliwack's history.


on Denman, former Executive Director of the Chilliwack Museum and Historical Society was at City Hall on Tuesday to introduce the new Executive Director Matthew Francis to council.


Just a little story to go along with Matthew; a few days before he actually arrived at the museum we got a mysterious package in the mail from his staff in Alberta, the staff he was leaving behind, and it was a gift for Matthew; a not very well rendered drawing of some heritage buildings in Lethbridge I think it was, whether he intended to leave it behind or not Im not sure, but its something thats going to follow him for sure now for the rest of his career. But I really think it shows the respect and esteem that his staff have for him. So I am really pleased today to introduce Matthew to you, said Denman.


Thank you very much Mayor Gaetz and members of council. Its really a pleasure to get to meet you all and Im delighted to take on this roll as Executive Director of the Chilliwack Museum and Archives. As I express thanks to the City of Chilliwack for your long-standing support of the important work of the museum and archive in the community, Francis told council. As Ron mentioned, I had been working in Alberta with the provincial government there in the Heritage Division for the past 10 years, but Im really from Chilliwack. I grew up here, and went to school here at Little Mountain Elementary, Chilliwack Jr., Chilliwack Sr. and I even volunteered with Ron Denman as a high school student back in the mid-90s or so. Its really a pleasure to be back here serving the community with the museum and archives."


"Its week two-and-a-half for me on the job, just getting to know the community, to hear whats important here in Chilliwack, and a major part of my work has been working with local government and community to develop their history, where theyve been in the past and working to create a future for our community that respects and celebrates our historic past heritage, but also looks toward the future. So I believe well be able to do that here in Chilliwack as well, and I just want to reiterate and express, as Im sure Ron has over the years, that the Chilliwack Museum and Archives is here to serve the whole community, and certainly were here to serve the city. If we can be a resource, it we can be of assistance to council and its work, to the City administration and their work, were delighted to do so from the archives point of view, the museum point of view, and we really desire to become the best small museum in Canada. And I think theres great potential, great opportunity to open up the doors to the museum to make it a place of learning, connection, both with the past and with the future, and a place that people can enjoy themselves and learn together, so Im delighted to be here, really enjoying the tremendous professional staff of the museum and archives, and I will look forward to maybe coming again to council and maybe sharing some of our hopes, some of our visions for the future down the road here maybe in a few months and Im delighted to do so, so thank you very much.


Thank you Mr. Francis, and welcome to the City of Chilliwack, Im glad that you get to hang out in such auspicious gigs. That is probably the most photographed building in our community, said Mayor Sharon Gaetz. I had two young girls come and visit me who thought thinking your building was were I resided. So, its a very impressive building that were all pleased to be our museum.


Thank you Ron for all the work that youve done. I know weve thanked you before, but building on your legacy will be a challenge for Mr. Francis as well. Its good to know that you have left a really great foundation, so I think as our community is growing there are more eyes on the museum and on history in our community, concluded Gaetz.


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