For the past 30 years Sharon Stone has been involved with the Summerland Museum, first as a volunteer and then serving on the board as treasurer and bookkeeper. She has been the archivist and the interim curator.
For the last four years she has been the administrator. Saturday was her last day before retirement.
Stone explained that one of the main reasons for her decision to retire had to do with her hearing loss.
“My ears are really ready to retire. I miss so much and I can’t be in the seat without someone else here,” said Stone. “It’s just going to be nice to not have to make decisions after so many years.”
“We want to let you know right now how much we’ve appreciated all your hard work, your enthusiasm, your novel ideas, your willingness to just step in and do whatever is needed and your love of Summerland history,” Sandy Nicolson, chair of the Summerland Museum and Historical society said in a presentation to Stone.
“It’s my passion. What this museum is about is what you see here. It’s the collection. It’s keeping this collection alive and looked after,” Stone replied.
The collection Stone referred to consists of 9,000 artifacts, 3,000 of which have never been touched as there is no room to display them.
Even so, the museum is always happy to accept more artifacts and some may in fact wonder why.
Stone said Summerland’s history did not end with the pioneers of the community. She stressed the importance of collecting today’s history for future generations.
“Your history isn’t going to be in here unless you give it to us. If you want it to be here in 50 years you have to bring it in now,” she said.
In order to emphasize this point she used the example of grad classes looking for their class pictures.
“The grads come every year. They have their 50th reunion. They come in and say, ‘Where’s our grad pictures?’ We ask, ‘Did you give us any?’ and then we look. I think that is my passion. In order to keep the history alive, you have to give us that history.”
Stone and archivist Ruth Ten Veen have been working on a couple of initiatives in order to collect today’s history.
They are asking people to submit their wedding pictures so they can be placed in an album documenting Summerland weddings.
Letters have been sent out to local businesses asking for a brief description of the business to have it included in the archives.
Stone gets research requests from all over the world from people looking for information on their families.
“It’s keeping the archives alive so we can answer all those questions, and the only way our archives grow is if you give us stuff,” she said.
Those visiting the museum are mainly from out of town and out of country.
“They come in and can’t believe what’s in this little building. They’ll spend two or three hours in here, seeing everything,” said Stone.
“They’ll go up and play with the train, sit and do a little bit of Japanese origami and play on the pump organ. They’re so impressed and that just makes our day.”
Stone is looking forward to retirement. She says she plans “to play in her garden, play with her grandchildren and play with her husband.” She also has plans to return to the museum as a volunteer to “work with Ruth on the collection.”
Stone has a dream of seeing the museum expanded, double its size in the present location.
She would also like to see enough funding in place to employ two full time staff rather than the current two part time positions.
“I want to see a museum that is big enough to look after the collection,” she said. “When the time comes to pull it apart and put it back together again, I’m sure going to be here helping them.”
If you would like to support the museum by buying a membership, volunteering or making a donation drop by or call 250-494-9395 or go to www.summerlandmuseum.org.
If you know a positive story about someone in our community, contact Carla McLeod at email@example.com or contact the Summerland Review newsroom at 250-494-5406.