CURATOR’S COLUMN: Dressing up exhibits at the museum

Montana Stanley | Contributed

While looking for culture material to supplement the Sooke Region Museum’s upcoming summer exhibition Women of Sooke, my team and I found interesting items in our collection connected to the women of the region.

One artifact of particular interest to us was a sealskin jacket donated in 1978 by Kathleen (Jo) Giacomini.

The jacket originally belonged to the donor’s mother, Kate (née Jalland) Gordon. Kate was a pioneer woman, who farmed at Gordons Beach.

Back in London, Kate, also known as Kitty, was a gifted music student, and daughter of a prominent physician. Like many pioneering women arriving from the old world, Kate was met with a new set of expectations and challenges upon arrival in Sooke in 1889.

Ashamed that she didn’t even know how to boil potatoes, Kitty became determined to learn culinary skills. She took lessons from fellow pioneer Janet (Jessie) Murray.

Kitty kept busy caring for her new infant and tending to crops on the family farm. She also helped run the Otter Point post office, and the family telegraph station out of her home.

The form fitting, velvety brown winter coat is streaked with orange-brown fur and lined with brown satin. A coat such as this was a display of beauty and wealth.

We do not know who made the coat. This artifact, among other interesting pieces, will be on display when the Women of Sooke exhibition opens at the museum’s annual open house celebration on June 23.

The exhibit examines women through their different roles, showcasing the remarkable ways women have impacted the region.

We are looking for donations or loans for this exhibit. We are also looking for interviewees for a virtual component of the exhibit, made possible by a Canadian Museum of History grant, debuting next year.

To donate or sign up for an interview, please contact me at or 250-642-6351.


Montana Stanley is the collections and exhibits manager at the Sooke Region Museum and Visitor Centre.

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