Museum: Surf the Past Online


The Pemberton Museum has just completed a massive digitisation project, making the treasures of their Equipment Collection available online.

We asked them to tell us about the oldest, weirdest and most popular artifact in the Museum.

Check out the full Q+A with Curator Niki Madigan and President George Henry at Choose Pemberton.

What is the oldest artifact in the Museum?

Our oldest artifacts are a few stone tools of Lil’wat origin that were donated by locals who unearthed them in various local fields.

We have several artifacts from the gold rush including the drive shaft from the ‘Prince of Wales’ steamer that plied the waters of Lillooet Lake. We have blacksmith tools, mule shoes, wagon wheel rims, cookwear; and we even have a bullet mould. Many of the artifacts that were found at the Port Pemberton site are on display in the Shantz house. The oldest pioneer artifact we have online is part of a group in accession # 994.14.01.  These items were found on the site of the old halfway house and are estimated to be from the 1860’s.  The items were recovered about two months after it was burned by a Railway crew  on April 26, 1963. These fragments Ray Pierre, Leonard Andrew, and the Fougbergs picked up enroute to Blackwater Lake on June 23,1963.

You can see an image of the knife on our website in the object collection.  It was donated by Ray Pierre in 1994.

Screen shot 2014-01-22 at 7.33.35 PM



What is the weirdest thing you have in the Museum collection?

Frank Tierney’s Hand.  This was the museum’s first accessioned artifact.

The Description reads: Frank Tierney’s artificial hand (in two parts in 1989).  The metal mechanical hand is corroded from years of exposure to weather.  Since the museum acquired it, the device has separated into 2 parts.  Frank Tierney lost his own hand in the Spanish Civil War, where he fought with the MacKenzie-Papineau volunteers from Canada. The artificial hand lay for many years in a field on the former Landsborough farm until Barbara Andrew found it in 1982.  Doubtless Tierney lost it during an earlier harvest; for a time he lived with James Landsborough, or, if not with Landsborough, in the Upper Valley where neighbours then and now help one another with the harvest.

What is the most popular, or commented on, artifact/building?

The Shantz House is the most popular display.  It is a complete house as lived in by early Pembertonians from the turn of the century to the arrival of power in the 1950’s.


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