Thursday, 6 July 2017

Family matter

I guess it was a good day to visit the museum.

Younger daughter was having one of her "on" days, when the sliding doors of her brain are open, and she is comfortable and functioning.

She was delighted by the transformation of the First Nations section, which now opens with columns and buttons which allow you to hear the vanishing indigenous languages of British Columbia, and to see where they used to be spoken.

She dove into this year's Terry Fox exhibit, and painstakingly read through every item in every display.  The Resident Fan Boy found comfortable places to sit while she did so, while I learned the ins and outs of the access elevator to accommodate Demeter's walker.  It involves finding the correct button with a bright light on the dashboard to blind you, holding said button for the correct length of time while the platform finds the correct level, then releasing the button at the correct time so that the door will open and let you out or in, releasing you from the embarrassment of hollering and banging for a patient RBCM staff member.

However, I had come for the Family Bond and Belonging exhibit, a sort of three-dimensional album.  Families from all over British Columbia have contributed film and videos of days at the beach, in the living room, in the backyard.  Some of these films look very old indeed -- from the 1920's and thirties, at least.

There's a sort of 1970s-style living room where you can plop down and watch snippets of these, ricocheting back and forth through the years.

There are galleries of photos, some from the Royal BC Archives, some from contributing families.  They represent a myriad of experience:  being First Nation, British, Chinese, Indian, or gay in British Columbia.  Having a family of blood relations, or chosen friends.  Living now, or a century and a half ago.

My very favourite display is at the very centre of the exhibit -- a dazzling collection of costumes: historical, cultural, military, occupational, again, many contributed by families, with stories attached.

I want to go back, of course, but repeated Victorian summers have taught me what Thomas Wolfe always knew -- that you really can't go home again.

No comments: