The Sooke Region Museum has more than 100 trophies in its artifact collection. Approximately 35 of these trophies come from All Sooke Day events and competitions. We have wooden, sterling and plated silver, and acrylite trophies. The subjects vary from sporting events to agricultural recognition.
Trophies are often viewed as a prize, but they are also great resources for institutions such as museums. Trophies confirm the accomplishments of both individuals and groups while also acting as a research tool. Consulting the information on a trophy can help verify event dates, people’s names and organization sponsorships.
One of the oldest trophies we have is from 1914. This trophy, donated to the museum in 1978, is a tall sterling silver cup that tapers at the bottom (1978.086.001). The handles are ornate and expand nearly the entire height of the cup.
The trophy is engraved with “Sooke & Otter Agricultural Assn Special Prize for garden produce presented by R.H. Pooley Esq.MPP.” It further states that this special prize was “won by W.H. Anderson Sept 18th 1914.”
While the silver has tarnished over the last 102 years, the trophy is in excellent condition. This sterling silver cup style trophy is iconic of the early to mid 1900s.
There are several trophies on display in our All Sooke Day exhibit. One of the larger trophies in this display is made of wood and has a gold coloured statue of a man climbing a pole (1987.002.001a-b). The inscription on this trophy says, “All Sooke Day 1968 Canadian Championship Peavey Log Roller / Trophy by Butler Bros Logging Ltd.” Visitors can view several of the sterling silver cup styled trophies in this exhibit, too.
One of the more recent sports trophies donated to our museum was won by the Sooke Midget boys softball team in the 2007 Canadian fast pitch championships (2009.040.004a-d).
The trophy, which was donated by coach Kevin Maycock, is diamond shaped and made from a clear acrylite. The clear diamond has the words “Softball Canada” on it. The base of the trophy is a black acrylite with an engraved plaque that reads, “Champion 2007 Midget Boys Canadian Fast Pitch Championship Champion.” This dedication is also printed in French on the plaque.
Trophies are frequently made with sterling silver and require unique care and conservation. When handling trophies, or silver in general, gloves should be worn as the oils and salts from skin leave fingerprints and marks.
Cleaning sterling silver trophies is a delicate process because each time tarnish is removed, a little bit of underlying silver is removed too. So, frequent cleaning to silver objects in a museum collection is not recommended.
Some cleaning options for sterling silver objects are chemical dips, electrochemical reduction, polishing clothes, polishes and pastes. A polishing cloth is recommended for light tarnishing as it will do the least amount of damage to the silver surface.
Tarnish removal on a silver plated object can be extremely damaging.
Proper storage of silver trophies includes using display cases and sealed storage containers that have limited exposure to the elements. For further inquiries on the care and preservation of silver objects, please visit the Canadian Conservation Institute’s website (http://canada.pch.gc.ca/eng/1454704828075).
Brianna Shambrook is the collections and exhibits manager for Sooke Region Museum.