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Virtual Sightseeing – The Burnaby Village Museum

Written by Library in Library Blog on April 15, 2020

Welcome to AC Library’s virtual sightseeing tour! In this series, the Library will take you to different local sites of interest. We’ll explore these sites using the online resources available to all students and faculty through the Library databases, along with other accessible virtual resources. Join us this week as we explore the Burnaby Village Museum:

The Burnaby Village Museum, originally known as Heritage Village, is a permanent commemorative project that set out to preserve the early history of British Columbia. It is an open-air museum that seeks to portray the 1890 to 1920 era of the lower mainland, with buildings and décor that is historically accurate to that time period. The idea originally came about as the city of Burnaby was largely known for farming and logging camps, and the museum was created in hopes of increasing the notability of Burnaby and its contributions to British Columbian society, as well as bring a sense of pride to the area.

The village opened for business in 1971 to 15,000 visitors over the first three days of operation, and was largely run by volunteers until 1989, when it became so large that Burnaby City Hall was asked to take over the operation of the village. The museum combines realistic replica structures with real historical artifacts and encourages interacting with the tram-stop community and its interpreters, and welcomes guests to touch and feel the museum to enhance their own experience. The museum initially opened with a variety of buildings, including a blacksmith, general store, ice cream parlour and dentist shop, and has since expanded its site to include buildings moved from their original historical locations to the museum in an effort to preserve them.

Student looking into sky with relief

Burnaby Village Museum Ice Cream Parlour, photograph, Food Burnaby, Burnaby Village Museum,

Over the years, the museum has made an effort to include many different parts of British Columbia’s history, including the addition of a replica Japanese bathhouse in 1977 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first Japanese settler arriving in British Columbia. The museum seeks to create an atmosphere where history can be preserved and interacted with, in hopes that the museum can be a place where the people who have participated in Burnaby’s history can see their own history and stories survive and be communicated to future visitors and generations.

“Burnaby Village Museum: History.” Burnaby Village Museum. Accessed March 23, 2020.

Chow, Wanda. “Burnaby Village marks its 40th anniversary this weekend.” Burnaby/New West News Leader [Burnaby, British Columbia], June 9, 2011, 1. Gale In Context: Canada (accessed March 23, 2020).

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