This is a replica of the Queen’s Baton from the 1994 Commonwealth Games. This baton was exhibited in the Sooke Region Museum’s 2012 exhibit Sooke: Connections to Royalty.

CURATOR’S CORNER: Celebrating the Queen

This month the Sooke Region Museum is celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th Birthday

By Brianna Shambrook

This month the Sooke Region Museum is celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th Birthday, on April 21, by taking a look at our collection of Royal Family memorabilia and reflecting on a past exhibit.

The artifact and archive collection at the Sooke Region Museum has more than 100 objects relating to Queen Elizabeth II and the British monarchy.  These objects include teacups, mugs, plates, coins, books, newspapers, photographs and stamps.

In our collection is a framed portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Myfanwy Spencer Pavelic. This print is number 13 of 50 and signed by the artist. Pavelic donated the print to the museum in August 1995. The city of Victoria commissioned this portrait to commemorate the Queen’s visit to Victoria on March 8, 1983. The original was made in 1983 and is graphite and acrylic.

We also have a purple and white banner that commemorates the Queen’s silver jubilee (25 years as the Queen). The 28-inch long fabric banner says: “The Queen’s Silver Jubilee 1952-1977.” Featured on the banner are images of several different crowns, orbs, bracelets, swords and sceptres.

We have several kitchenware objects commemorating the Queen. A white china teacup was donated to the museum in 1988 by Bert Mugford. The cup celebrates the Queen’s coronation on June 2, 1953. Pictured on the cup are Queen Elizabeth II and two Union Jack flags.

In 1991 Jean Newman donated a teaspoon to the museum, which commemorates the Queen’s visit to Canada in 1959. The Queen’s portrait is engraved at the top of the silver plated handle and “Queen Elizabeth II visits Canada 1959” is engraved on the bowl of the spoon.

In 2012, the museum held a three-month long exhibit celebrating the 60 year anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne (Diamond Jubilee). The exhibit, titled Sooke: Connections to Royalty, focused on linking the Sooke region, and its residents, to the British Royal family. The exhibit also featured memorable moments from the Queen’s 60 year reign, objects and photographs from our collection and more than 50 loaned objects from Sooke residents.

Among those loaned objects was a replica of “the Queen’s Baton” from the 1994 Commonwealth Games hosted in Victoria. An event at the Sooke Flats welcomed the athletes representing the Commonwealth countries.

As stated on the official certificate for the baton: “The Queen’s Baton is a tradition of each Commonwealth Games and serves as a unifying symbol to the peoples of the Commonwealth.” The original sterling silver Queen’s Baton was designed by three First Nations artists (from Coast Salish, Nuu-Chah-nulth and Kwagiulth) and crafted in the shape of a traditional Northwest Coast tribal soul-catcher. The replica Baton was loaned to the museum by the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame.

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Brianna Shambrook is the collections and exhibits manager for Sooke Region Museum.