Monday, February 25, 2013


Community News

History in the Making

Pink tractor next for Threshermens Village

Staff/Voice file photos


An Atchelitz Village volunteer demonstrates a working blacksmith shop on the grounds. Below, Stuart Vander Kooi speaks in Chilliwack council chambers last week (Shaw TV image).


t stands locked in time, somewhere in the mid-1850s, testament to a once simpler life, and as one of Chilliwack's crown jewels, Atchelitz Village Museum just gets better each year.


When you walk onto the grounds, you're instantaneously taken back to a different era. The village has a chapel, a blacksmith shop, the pioneer building, and several others that volunteers have painstakingly setup much as you would find them over a hundred years ago..


Stuart Vander Kooi, President of the Threshermens Association was at city hall last Tuesday to update council about what's been going on at the Village over the past year.


They count amongst their 102 paid members, the Canadian Forces Chilliwack Museum, Sardis Kiwanis Club, Chilliwack Lions Club and the Fraser Valley Car Club. The Lions Club and Kiwanis Club rent storage space there, and seven local clubs also book the facilities for meetings.


According to Vander Kooi, there’s been an increase of activity at the Village and in lieu of that, they have done some restructuring, including the establishment of a PR committee who will be promoting the Village.


Museum tours are volunteer-driven and currently the Village is open Monday, Thursday and Saturday 10am to 3pm however they may be opening 5 days a week in the near future.


“A Museum Committee has also been set up to reorganize and improve our museum. Many volunteer hours have been painting, creating special interest rooms and improving our display areas,” Vander Kooi said.


The Association now also has a Facebook page and they’re planning on developing an interactive website to replace their current blog.


One of the noticeable differences has been the addition of a sign painted in large red letter on the side of one of the buildings that faces the Trans Canada.


The group also has vehicles on display in Big Rig Truck Show, and their Threshermens Bee has proved to be one of the most popular at the Chilliwack Fair in August.




Vander Kooi said that community outreach is important to the Association.


“One of the things we plan to do is paint one of our tractors pink this year to make it available for Breast Cancer Society to help them publicize their events.”


“We hope to keep the pioneer history of Chilliwack alive for both young and old to enjoy and prove to people that our site is a place well worth visiting.”


"We've been working with Threshermens for a long time and never waivered in our faith that you could actually make it a fantastic world class place to visit, and indeed you have,” said Mayor Sharon Gaetz.


"It's fun to go to Threshermens and see the kind of items you have on display in your museum. But also just to connect with the community and you have a great community there.”


Gaetz likes the new signage and said she is very proud of what the group is doing.


“I love driving down the highway coming into Chilliwack and seeing that big red museum sign on the edge of your building,” she said. "I think that was a really great move on your behalf. I don't think people realized that was even there, coming in from out of town, so I hope you have a lot more visitors come in."


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