Revelstoke Museum and Archives is in the planning stage of a new exhibit, titled “Reclaimed Voices.” Funding from Heritage BC Time Immemorial program, and from Revelstoke Community Foundation and Revelstoke Credit Union will give the museum the opportunity to tell stories that are often missing from usual museum narratives.
History in a western Canadian community such as Revelstoke is largely recorded and interpreted from the British male settler perspective. “Reclaimed Voices” proposes to tell stories that were often excluded from the historic record. We are asking the questions, “Whose stories normally get told in museums? Whose stories are missing? And how can we address these missing pieces?”
The first step is to ask the community. Revelstoke Museum and Archives is hosting a discussion about “Reclaimed Voices” on Thursday, April 20 at 3 pm. Participants will be guided in a discussion about what stories to consider, and will have the opportunity to provide ideas and feedback. This exhibit is about the community we live in, and it is important to include a variety of perspectives to reflect the true nature of Revelstoke. The museum recognizes that the settler community started with exclusion, in terms of the displacement of the Sinixt, the Indigenous Nation that were the original inhabitants of this region. The exhibit aims to give a voice to those people and groups who were excluded from the historic record and from full participation in society, as well as modern-day communities and individuals whose voices are underrepresented, stifled, or unheard.
When we think of museum exhibits, we often assume that only stories from the past will be recognized. “Reclaimed Voices” could include stories from people who are living here now and who have unique and diverse perspectives that will bring a larger breadth and scope to the exhibit. History isn’t just in the past, we are making it every day!
Some of the missing stories may be from the perspective of women, of racialized and ethnic communities, of immigrants and refugees, of Indigenous people, of people living in poverty, people with disabilities, or people from the LGBTQ+ community. The exhibit will include a feedback station where anyone can leave a story or a point of view. Through the exhibit, the museum also hopes to add new perspectives to the archives, so that going forward these voices will be represented in the museum’s collections.
The cultural heritage values that are relevant to this project are mostly intangible values – what does it mean for people to feel included within a society, what have people in the history of the community of Revelstoke done in terms of inclusion of diverse people, and what have they done to discourage inclusion? These are some of the themes that the museum hopes to explore in this project.
Revelstoke Museum and Archives hopes to hear your stories and ideas for this exhibit. Come to the meeting on April 20, or submit your ideas through the museum’s website: www.revelstokemuseum.ca/reclaimed-voices.
Cathy English is the curator at the Revelstoke Museum and Archives.
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