By Brianna Shambrook
At the Sooke Region Museum, we are fortunate to have such a large art collection that is focused primarily around the Sooke Region.
Our art collection has more 250 objects including paintings, sketches, framed photographs, picture frames and carvings. We have art made by both locally and nationally recognized artists such as Myfanwy Spencer Pavelic and Capt. P W deP Taylor.
Our most recent art donation is a painting of late Sooke resident Maywell Wickheim (2015.031.001a-b). The acrylic painting on a wooden cradle board is called The Captain and was done by local artist Linda Gordon. The piece was donated by the Sooke Classical Boating Society in late 2015 in honour of Maywell’s memory.
It is incredibly important to take care of art collections and keep them stored appropriately because a lot of the materials are organic, which are highly susceptible to deterioration. Since moisture and variations in temperature can accelerate deterioration, the collection is stored in a humidity and climate controlled space.
Most of the objects are stored in vertical cubby holes within a large wooden unit built specifically for the space. Since the cubby holes are not very wide, some artworks, such as carvings, are stored in a different area. In the summer of 2015 we made it our mission to tie up loose ends and reorganize the collection.
It took two of our collections assistants a few weeks to reorganize and inventory the collection. We recently finished all related data entry in January. Reorganizing included grouping objects by size, artist and content. During this overhaul we lined each cubby hole shelf with archival quality ethafoam to keep the bottom of the objects safe from any damage. Due to our organizing efforts, we now have an extensive guide that enables us to quickly locate each piece and its attached history.
Our art collection also includes displays made by staff and volunteers. Among our exhibits you will see the dedication and creativity of Sooke residents. Many of these creations are miniatures of actual buildings and events from our region. Our longhouse, mining, fishtraps and logging exhibits are all examples of wonderful local talent and skills.
Brianna Shambrook is collections and exhibits manager at Sooke Region Museum.