A Vintage Christmas at the Museum

 “There’s never a dull moment in Whaletown,  but during December, things seem to have reached a ‘crescendo fortissimo compassioné,’ and I’m sure you know exactly what I mean. The first week began reasonably enough with two residents in Vancouver and Victoria hospitals for mental treatment. A cat named Jill was run over by a bulldozer, a couple of private parties, and the start of another feud.” – Gilean Douglas’ 1953 Christmas letter.  

A collection of Douglas’ letters and her gilded Edwardian postcards will be part of the open house. 

“People are welcome to come, find a spot,  get a letter and read through it. See what was happening on Cortes Island back in the day,” explained Melanie Boyle Managing Director of the Cortes Island Museum.  

“This Saturday,  December 9th, between 11 AM until 4 PM, the Museum is running what we call Vintage Christmas. We thought it would be wonderful to offer another community space while the shoppers are down in Manson’s for the Holiday Fair.”

Photo courtesy Melanie Boyle

“We have some shopping here ourselves. The museum shop has some local artists’ work, books and some unique gifts that relate to the museum.” 

“We have redecorated the area right in the front of the gallery space by the windows.  We called it ‘Gilean’s Cabin,’ as part of the current exhibition. We redecorated it with old fashioned ornaments and some old fashioned theme.” 

“We’ll be offering refreshments, some hot apple cider and complimentary cookies.”

“We’re also collecting cash donations for the food bank.” 

“We had fun gathering ourselves, putting the decorations up. One thing I’m doing today is setting up a little tiny snow scene for the kids to peek at. So today I’m setting up lots of little creatures, and little scenes with Playmobil.”

There will be a self-directed activity table for making paper snowflakes and collage cards, on Saturday.

“We also have a raffle. $2 will buy you a ticket.  We have three really interesting gifts:  a Hurricane vase tea light; a copy of Paul Stamets book, ‘Mycelium Running,’ and a botanical calendar.”  

“It’s another chance to see the exhibition we currently have on, Wayfinding Stories of Maps in Place, is on until the end of this month. This is another opportunity just to come out and see people before we all slide into the busy holiday season.” 

We’re going to close this program with another passage from Gilean Douglas’ 1953 Christmas letter: 

“By the second week, we had shifted into high gear with the meetings of all three local clubs. Women’s Institute, Women’s Auxiliary, Whaletown Community Club,  W. I. Dance, an all, almost all night birthday party, and a visiting fireman who hasn’t arrived yet.” 

“The last name was a man from the Fire Marshal’s Department in Vancouver, whom we in the Women’s Institute, contacted about our firefighting project. He was coming up for two days to inspect, instruct, and put on two fire prevention movies. But after being held up for four days in Vancouver by fog, he wrote that he didn’t know when he’d be here. On our part, we didn’t hear from him in time to cancel the movie and a number of people who came from a distance were disappointed.”  

“Our W. I. dance was a great success with delicious eats, no unscheduled floor shows, and everybody happy. It had all blown up in about 10 days at the request of a resident and hit us at  such a busy time, that it was a week before two other members and myself got the Gorge Hall cleaned up again. What a horrible sight that place can be after a party. Any halls you’d like cleaned, I’m getting to be an expert.” 

All photos courtesy Melanie Boyle

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