This week, the post is written by my colleague and guest blogger, Kim Gough.
Week #4 – Dr Tzu-I Chung, Curator of History
Kids’ Club started with a song – a special song for a birthday – I’ll bet you know what it is. We spent our “Carpet time” talking about how we celebrate our birthdays, and how people celebrate all over the world.
This was a great introduction to our visit with Dr Tzu-I Chung, because she is interested in finding out about how all cultures celebrate and the traditions we brought with us when we came to British Columbia. We talked about what curators do at the museum and in addition to adding to the collection, and researching the collection we introduced the idea that curators use the artifacts to make exhibitions. Then we went to visit with Tzu-I in her office to find out more.
On the way to Tzu-I’s office, we stopped in the Fannin Tower on the main floor. There were some old exhibit cases from the early days of the museums. These cases had lots and lots of mounted birds inside. Do you know the names of any of these birds?
Up to the eighth floor. Because there are collections on this floor as well as offices, Tzu-I’s door was locked. So we rang the bell.
On the way to Tzu-I’s office we noticed all of the books. Tzu-I showed us a book that she uses when she is doing research about an artifact.
In Tzu-I’s office we could see the top of the Legislature Building through the fog. We also got see a special artifact that was over 100 years old. We were asked what it was. Kids’s Club had a lot of interesting ideas. “Tongs”, “Pinchers” and “Pluckers”. Tzu-I asked , for “plucking what?”
Then we found out that Tzu-I interviewed two sisters. These pluckers belonged to their family business – a BBQ that still operates in Victoria’s Chinatown. When the sisters were girls, they helped their parents at the family business, and they used these pluckers on the ducks and chickens.
Tzu-I told us that is very important to talk with people about their stories to find out about their history and the history of British Columbia. With these stories and artifacts, the museum can make an exhibition.
We headed off through the maze of stairs to third floor of the museum to see the exhibition that Tzu-I curated called “Traditions in Felicities”.
This exhibition has only ONE artifact. A rare paper lantern. Kids’ Club noticed that it looked like it was being repaired. It is very delicate and the conservators can help to make it stronger but they can’t make it work again, so we used technology to see what it once looked like.
On our way out, we went through Century Hall where there are hundreds of artifacts used to tell a story. It was interesting to think about the different ways that artifacts can be used to tell a story.
I really enjoyed stepping in to Kids’ Club for the day and hearing the stories, and seeing the artifacts with the kids and thanks to the Kids’ Club for being so friendly and helping me too. See you soon.