Peter Garnham, executive director of the Sidney Museum, in front of his collection of die-cast planes.                                 (Hugo Wong/News staff)

Peter Garnham, executive director of the Sidney Museum, in front of his collection of die-cast planes. (Hugo Wong/News staff)

Sidney Museum pays tribute to the armed forces

While walking on Beacon Ave., be on the lookout for a small set of stairs. Go down, and you’ll find the Sidney Museum, where until Nov. 15 they will have a tribute to the armed forces, with memorabilia and information about the Saanich Peninsula’s connection to the military.

Peter Garnham, executive director of the Sidney Museum, said that the exhibit is made up of the Museum’s own collection, but also pieces from the B.C. Aviation Museum; the Sidney Army, Navy & Air Force Veteran’s Association as well as from collectors. The vast array of die-cast planes are part of Garnham’s own collection.

The Museum tries to link the exhibit to the local area. One display case is devoted to the Pacific Coast Militia Rangers, which was formed as a home guard in the event of Japanese invasion. There are also two plaques that recognize the local soldiers who died in the two World Wars. In the past, they have featured photos of local veterans.

“About three years ago, we had the base commander from Esquimalt come out and visit which was very nice, too,” said Garnham.

Garnham himself started at the museum as an assistant 20 years ago when the museum was still on the waterfront, combined with the marine mammal museum. They now have two paid staff and over 50 volunteers working the front desk, the archives, and in education programs. They have over 7000 artifacts, an archive of photos, documents and newspapers (including the Peninsula News Review going back to 1913) and a massive room of Lego that Garnham builds with his two sons ahead of a yearly spring exhibition that draws thousands of visitors.

reporter@peninsulanewsreview.com