CURATOR’S CORNER: Sooke Region Museum updates grounds

The long-term goal is to create a new exhibit space

The Sooke Region Museum is making some changes to its grounds.

A section of the museum’s land has been cleared along Sooke Road. The long-term goal is to create a new exhibit space that we are calling a forestry trail. We will also be constructing a new storage space in the area.

Constructing the new forestry trail will involve several steps.

This spring, the land was cleared using the services of Western Island Tree Service and 4M Bobcat and Trucking Ltd. Soon, the land will be filled and raised to make it level. Then we can begin relocating several of our forestry and logging related artifacts that are scattered around the grounds.

The largest artifact to move will be our steam donkey. The steam donkey, which will be situated along Sooke Road, once operated at the Phillips Farm on Phillips Road.

The donkey was used in the Sooke area in the early 1900s and was eventually converted to gas. In the late 1970s, Ron Fitton donated the donkey to the museum and it underwent a restoration.

As the donkey sits outside in a forested area, it has succumbed to the elements. This is a common issue with outdoor industrial artifacts at museums. Over the next year or two, the donkey will be restored by the dedicated volunteers from the Sooke Lions Club.

We will also be constructing a new storage space that will house other industrial artifacts and have an area for conservation projects. This new building will also contain our blacksmith shop. Our current blacksmith shop structure will be dismantled and the materials will be repurposed in the construction of the new building.

The outside walls of the new building will have exhibit panels for the forestry and logging equipment.

Many residents have been asking what we’re doing with the wood cut from the cleared trees. The museum is utilizing the wood and we’ve also donated a portion to the Sooke Community Association.

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

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