New exhibit to open this weekend

November 24, 2008
News Release

Quesnel – The Quesnel & District Museum and Archives is pleased to announce its newest exhibit, River of Memory Took’oh Whunats’ulnih: Reflections on the Fraser Expedition, will open at the North Cariboo Community Campus on Saturday Nov. 29, at 2 p.m.

When Simon Fraser undertook his famed journey 200 years ago, seeking a route to the Pacific, he encountered the Dakelh people, who, over centuries, had developed a complex culture adapted to survival on this land. This exhibit explores the relationships between the earliest Europeans in this area, who came to trade for furs, and the local inhabitants.

In addition to Fraser the exhibit focuses on two other members of his crew:  Jules-Maurice Quesnel, after whom our town is named and Jean-Baptiste “Waccan” Boucher. A website developed in conjunction with the exhibit reproduces archival materials, such as the pages of Simon Fraser’s journal describing the people and scenery of this area and a letter by Quesnel to a friend back in Montreal, in which he unhappily complains about the living conditions in this far western region.

In partnership with the College of New Caledonia and the North Cariboo Aboriginal Family Program Society, a second series of interviews of Dakelh Elders was filmed over the past year. It focuses on the traditional skills and knowledge which made the Dakelh valued partners in the fur trade. The resulting DVD is called Elders’ Stories:  Survival on the Land.  The DVD will be shown for the first time and the Elders will be honoured for their contribution to the video project. Interpretive signs developed by the North Cariboo Aboriginal Family Program Society, to mark significant aboriginal sites in Quesnel will be unveiled, as well as a bronze plaque explaining how the City came to be named after Jules Quesnel. A traditional feast of bannock and stew is planned.  Music and dance will round out the lineup for this community celebration.

 Funding for this multi faceted project has been provided by The British Columbia Arts Council, The British Columbia Museum Association’s BC 150 Local Museum Program, the Government of Canada and the Department of Heritage Building Communities through Arts and Heritage, The City of Quesnel and the Friends of the Quesnel and District Museum and Archives.

The exhibit will be on view at the Quesnel & District Museum starting Dec. 2. The River of Memory web site will be accessible from  The Elders’ Stories DVDs are available through the museum gift shop.

In addition, educational programs based on the exhibit have been developed to meet the learning objectives of the Grade 4 and 9 social studies curriculum. To book a tour, or to rent this portable exhibit which comes with a box of touchable artifacts, please contact Elizabeth Hunter, Museum and Heritage Manager at 250-992-9580 or  

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