The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford has won a prestigious national award for its Voices of the Valley permanent exhibition.
The museum has been named one of two recipients of the 2016 Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Community Programming, which recognizes community projects that tell stories about the past in unique and innovative ways.
Voices of the Valley is an exhibition and interpretive program developed in collaboration with the MSA Museum Society in Abbotsford.
Voices of the Valley tells the story of the Abbotsford community through the eyes of individuals who have shaped it, and features on-site educational activities, interactive technologies, and engaging school programs.
“Voices of the Valley presents information through multiple voices, multiple stories, even conflicting voices – allowing people to draw their own conclusions,” says Kris Foulds, The Reach curator of historical collections.
“For example, was the drainage of Sumas Lake positive in that it opened up agricultural land for settlers? Or negative for the First Nations who saw further encroachment on their territory and more land taken away for settlement?”
Janet Walker, president and CEO of Canada’s History, which administers the award, said The Reach has demonstrated that “museum are more than collections of artifacts.”
“They are relevant places of learning that can engage an entire community,” she said.
“By allowing citizens to explore multiple sides of the same question, The Reach helps residents develop a richer understanding of how their communities have changed over time and give greater context to their lives today.”
The Reach will be presented its award on Nov. 28 by Governor General of Canada David Johnson in a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.
The other award recipient is the Centre d’archives de Vaudreuil-Soulanges in Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec.