1999 – WINDOWS ON WHALETOWN
(Curated and mounted by Doreen Thompson)
Displayed photos and artifacts showcasing the social history of Whaletown from 1869 to the present day (1999).
Museum Musings from Whaletown National Enquirer of July, 1999:
It was a celebration of place – a very special place called Whaletown.
Highlights of the exhibit included a history of land holdings, a newly restored model of the troller Sylva Jane, an oversized canvas of the Peter Police homestead at Carrington Lagoon (c1942), a Whaletown map of place, and replicate photo albums dating back to the early 1900s.
WINDOWS ON WHALETOWN was one humble step towards documenting the social history of the Whaletown community. It was hoped the display would inspire others to add to the work in place and establish a strong archival record of the community.
The exhibit opened June 18, 1999, with great fanfare. “Old-time Whaletowners” returning to Whaletown for the opening ceremonies included members from the Findlay, Huck, Tooker, Ballantyne, Tait, Barrett, Byers, Ogren and Munro families. A lively afternoon walk-about in Whaletown welcomed the guests. Tooker granddaughters giggled to learn that the Louisa Tooker Memorial Library is affectionately called the “Tooker”. Kay Boas, widow of the late reverend, had a big hug for Peggy Munro when she walked into St. John the Baptist Church, where Peggy was married in 1951 at the first wedding ceremony conducted in the newly finished church. The Columbia Coast Mission boat Captain Findlay’s granddaughters reminisced over summers spent in Whaletown with their grandfather and carried with them a copy of the Captain’s Memoirs which were later donated to the Museum’s Archives.
There was an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response to the exhibit at a wine and cheese reception in the Museum with fiddle music outside by Palle Helenius.
Bonnie MacDonald presided over the dedication of the Archives, and a surprised May Ellingsen was invited to pull ribbons to reveal the sign over the doorway of the MAY ELLINGSEN ARCHIVES. It is May’s long-standing vision of a museum on Cortes Island that has brought us to this point.