A conceptual drawing released in June 2013 shows what the Osoyoos Home Building Centre will look like after it becomes the home of the Osoyoos and District Museum and Archives in 2020.
By Dale Boyd
In the process of moving to Main Street, the Osoyoos and District Museum and Archives will also be seeing some fresh, new faces next year.
The museum is taking part in a project in coordination with UBC Okanagan which will bring students to town for a two-week period to deep dive into the area’s history.
Museum director Kara Burton has been working on the project for almost three years in coordination with Dr. Catherine Higgs, head of UBCO’s history and sociology department.
Through a chance meeting, the two brought the idea to fruition over multiple years to help delve into the history of rural towns like Osoyoos and give university students real-world experience.
The first set of students, the program is hoping for 12 to 16, will come to Osoyoos next spring.
“The students will each have to complete a research paper on Osoyoos incorporating the three main themes we are implementing for the new museum which are: the land, the people and the industry,” Burton said.
Each student will pick a topic, conduct oral interviews and explore a topic which will culminate in publishing a research paper.
“The bonus for me is that I can use their research for future exhibits and will have their interviews and whatnot that will be put into the archives as well,” Burton said.
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The museum will give students some direction covering the three concepts (land, people and industry) which are the major themes behind the concept for the new musuem.
“Everything in this area is related to two, if not three of those themes. For instance the Portuguese settlers that came here were the orchardists, so that’s the industry. The irrigation for the land which shaped the industry and brought the people,” Burton said.
The museum is also looking to make connections with the Osoyoos Indian Band for students to research indigenous history as well.
The new program will likely be taking off as the new museum location is getting ready to open to the public.
“Never a dull day around here,” Burton laughed.
The process to move the museum to the current location of the Home Building Centre on Main Street has been in the works since 2011. The museum takes possession of the new building in January 2020, looking to renovate and open sometime in the summer.
“It’s going to be quite a spring next year,” Burton said.
A large grant of $100,000 acquired through UBC will fund the student research project for two years.
“We’re hoping in the future it will be a program that will then spin off into other small communities. To focus in Oliver, or West Kelowna. To take this model and have it benifit other small communities as well,” Burton said.