A model of a First Nation’s longhouse is one of the first pieces visitors see as they enter the Sooke Region Museum. (Sooke Region Museum photo)

CURATOR’S CORNER: Dioramas bring history to life

3-D models useful tool for museum visitors to understand and interact with the ‘bigger picture’

Montana Stanley | Contributed

The Sooke Region Museum has a variety of 3-D models on display. Because there’s physical limits to the size of exhibits, models are a useful and exciting visual tool for museum visitors to understand and interact with the “bigger picture” of a time, place, or phenomenon.

A model of a First Nation’s longhouse along the ocean’s edge is one of the first pieces visitors may see as they enter the museum.

This model captures the essence of daily Coast Salish life in and around the longhouse. Longhouses were built to easily access resources and live off the land. Figurines made of paper can be seen partaking in different activities such as cooking, harvesting, fishing, crafting, and weaving.

This model was a collaborative effort from different members of the community. The longhouse model was made for the museum by elder Simon Charlie of the Cowichan band. Joan O’Donnell created a model riverside landscape to house the longest portion.

The Bear Creek Bridge diorama is one of several built and donated by Horace Arthurs, a prominent figure involved in the logging industry and the Sooke Region Museum.

The diorama was donated to the museum in June 2002. It was made as close as possible to scale from photographs of the region.

Constructed of plastic plants, a wooden trestle bridge, and a metal and plastic train, this diorama represents the Bear Creek trestle in the San Juan valley, built in 1939.

The Bear Creek trestle spanned the Bear Creek Canyon and was part of a 24-kilometre rail system that ran inland from Port Renfrew. It was constructed by the Malahat Logging Company using Douglas-fir timbers and piles, and was the highest wooden trestle in B.C. at the time.

This diorama features a 50-ton Shay locomotive moving logs on skeleton, or flatbed cars with a frame, and a bulldozer carried on bull, or flatbed cars.

Details like a small plastic bear lounging on a log in the valley under the trestle while a plastic man climbs a wooden ladder up the side of the trestle make this model particularly engaging. This model sets the scene for what it might have been like to work along the railway.

This diorama, as well as others depicting logging operations, was created with the purpose of preserving the forest history of British Columbia, and creating awareness around logging operations in the area.

Another model featured at the museum represents commercial fishtraps operations in Sooke circa 1904-1958. J.H. Todd and Sons and Sooke Harbour Fishing and Packing were long time operators. This model is specifically of the Otter Point fishtrap, and was constructed by Bill Baker and Jim Forrest, both of whom were employed on the fishtraps.

The model is made from wood, wire, fine mesh and net string. Fibre glass is used to represent the ocean bottom and a Plexiglas sheet is used to represent sea level. Two small carved boats are attached that lead to the trap.

Actual pilings for traps could run up to 150 feet deep. They were pile-driven each spring and removed each fall, and were stored at Whiffin Spit. The salmon were trapped in nets and then lifted into barges by fishtraps crews, a process called brailing. The fish would then be shipped to canneries. After 1958 this method was replaced by fleets of commercial fishing vessels.

•••

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

Just Posted

Custom motorcycle and wood cutter stolen from Sooke motorcycle shop

2006 Husqvarna motorcycle and 2-ton log splitter taken from outbuilding

Remember Spunky? Santa came out to Sidney to check on him

Red-tailed Hawk made headlines last year after being stolen, raised by eagles

MISSING: 59-year-old Pamela Fletcher

Fletcher was last seen in the area near Royal Jubilee Hospital on Dec. 10

Mainroad South Island reminds drivers to keep them in the loop

Call the hotlines for concerns on local provincial highways

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Woman guilty of impaired driving in death of Vancouver Island pedestrian

Man in his 70s killed in 2016 Courtenay multi-vehicle incident

Family searching for B.C. professor last seen at Colombian salsa club

Ramazan Gencay, a professor in economics at Simon Fraser University, was last seen in Medellin

Rash of bomb threats a learning opportunity for response capacity, Goodale

Thursday’s wave of bomb threats swept across communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border

Most Read