The Summerland Museum has been nominated for the Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Community Programming.
Although it is not clear who made the nomination, it is known that it was based on the museum’s Japanese exhibit, “Doe Shi Kai,” which means Coming to New World with Great Hopes.
The exhibit includes stories, photographs and items belonging to the many Japanese families of Summerland.
The nominator wrote: “The exhibit, which opened in May 2013, is very well done and appeals to all ages. Instead of an exhibit committee building it, many in Summerland’s Japanese-Canadian community and other volunteers were involved. It is a true Community production!”
It was in the summer of 2012 that the idea of having a Japanese display was first discussed by the staff and board members of the museum. It was decided that the display would be ready for opening in May of 2013, which had been deemed As i a n -He r i t a g e month.
Museum board member Bernice Shiosaki visited families of Japanese heritage to hear and document their stories.
Photographs and items were loaned to the museum, adding to their own artifacts, in order to display the history of the Japanese community in Summerland.
Following archivist Ruth Ten Veen’s vision for the layout of the exhibit, Shiosaki along with Sharon Stone and a group of volunteers went to work putting it all together.
The result is that when visiting the exhibit one can easily see what the Japanese people may have brought with them when they arrived in Summerland.
Displayed are clothing and pieces of luggage, things they would have used in daily life such as dishes and traditional tea sets.
There are also religious altars used in the Tenriko and Buddhist faiths as well as a Japanese translation of the Bible. Pieces of art work are featured including woodworking, paintings and dolls, all made by local Japanese artists.
Visitors can also read about how and why the Japanese people migrated to Canada and about the employment and educational opportunities that they took advantage of as well as the story of how their populations grew.
Also documented are the challenges they faced and how they were treated during the Second World War.
As part of the exhibit there is an area where children can sit down and try their hand at Origami, creating things from folding and cutting paper. If they are so inclined they can learn to write a type of poetry called haiku.
“It’s a community collection that was displayed and could not have been done if the Japanese community did not tell us their stories,” said Shiosaki.
Should the Summerland Museum be successful in their nomination, they would be awarded $2500 and a trip to Ottawa to receive the award at Rideau Hall. A celebration dinner will be held which will give the winners the opportunity to network with history- enthusiasts from all across Canada.
Shiosaki was pleasantly surprised by the nomination and she is hopeful about winning.
“We would get funds to help with the museum, so that would be awesome,” she said.
Have you visited the Summerland Museum to view this possible award winning exhibit? If not you have until mid- October to do so.
If you know a positive story about someone in our community, contact Carla McLeod at email@example.com or contact the Summerland Review newsroom 250-494-5406.