If you think you’ve seen all there is to see at the Creston Museum, you’re probably wrong — with a massive collection of artifacts chronicling the Creston Valley’s history, there’s always something new to learn.
When the museum opens for its season on May 9, so will “The Orchard Industry of the Creston Valley”, a series of four related exhibits on the development of the local tree-fruit industry and the challenges it has faced and continues to face.
“We’re presenting this in conjunction with a new program, in which visitors will take part in hands-on activities at the museum that will help them understand some of the dilemmas fruit growers have faced throughout local history — whether to grow only apples or a variety of fruits, for example — and the consequences of their choices,” said manager Tammy Hardwick. “Then we’ll load them into a bus and take them out to a working orchard where they can see these issues, and their present-day solutions, in action.”
On the opening day, visitors can also take a look at the Battle of St. Julien exhibit, featured at the Trench Dinner the museum held in April, as well as enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the storage areas to learn more about the museum’s next major project. Tours run at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.; advance booking is recommended.
Later in the summer, a wine and cheese night will open another new exhibit, “The Art of Style”, an exhibit running Aug. 29-Sept.19 that focuses on Irwin Crosthwait, who grew up in Lister. He joined the Navy during the Second World War as a war artist specifically so he could get to Paris, where he launched a successful career as a fashion artist and abstract painter.
“The exhibit will showcase examples of his work from the museum’s collection, and some of the clothes he sketched — for well-known fashion names including Dior, Yves St-Laurent, and Balanciaga,” said Hardwick. “The opening event will feature local foods and beverages and an appropriate fashion-and-art-in-Paris classic film — we’re thinking either Funny Face or An American in Paris.”
The museum’s regular events are on the schedule, too, staring with kids’ day on June 13.
“This is the one day of the year that’s all about kids getting hands-on with history — everything from a spelling lesson in the schoolhouse to panning for gold and pretending to be a horse pulling a plough,” said Hardwick.
The ever-popular afternoon tea runs Aug. 8, this year with a 1920s theme.
“Why is that exciting?” asked Hardwick. “Well, anything that features flappers, Charleston dancers and rum-runners has to be exciting.”
Every Tuesday afternoon in July and August, the museum offers “Lessons in the Schoolhouse”, a chance to go back in time and take a class in 1927 in the museum’s restored Kingsgate schoolhouse.
Finally, simply being a Creston Valley resident earns some perks, with free admission and a special presentation or exhibit opening on locals’ days on May 9, June 27 and July 18.
“We think it’s important that everyone on Creston gets to explore their community’s history,” said Hardwick.
The Creston Museum is open 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday May 9-June 12, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. seven days a week throughout the summer. For more information, contact the museum at 250-428-9262.