I recently took my first trip to the North Vancouver Museum‘s Presentation House to find out more about their programs, archives, and current exhibits. The Presentation House is one of two locations for the museum, located on West 4th at Chesterfield, while the archives are over in Lynn Valley.
The old schoolhouse building, and former City Hall, is home to a theatre, exhibit space, and the museum’s permanent North Vancouver history collection. Assistant Director Shirley Sutherland walked me around the “North Vancouver Story” side of the museum and filled me in on Moodyville, the history of shipbuilding, logging, and more.
Moodyville History Tidbits
- The north shore is part of the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.
- After the arrival of Europeans the first industry was Pioneer Mills, founded in 1862. It was bought by Sewell Moody in 1865.
- Moodyville is named after an American, Sewell Moody, and does not share the same namesake as Port Moody, Colonel Richard Moody.
- Burrard Inlet’s first religious service, school, museum, and library were at Moodyville as well as the first newspaper, the Moodyville Tickler.
- The region’s first transit service was a steam tug ferry that went from Brighton (on the East Vancouver side today) to Moodyville, Stamp’s Mill, and back.
- Moodyville was the first townsite on the Pacific Coast, North of San Francisco, to have electricity. The lights flickered on February 4, 1882.
- The District of North Vancouver was incorporated in 1891, but it wasn’t until 1915 that Moodyville joined up with the City of North Vancouver.
- Source for all of the above is Chuck Davis’ History of Metropolitan Vancouver.
The Moodyville townsite would have been along Low Level Road, East of Esplanade, where the rail yards are today. You can take a stroll down the Moodyville Park Trail to explore the area and read the interpretive signage to learn more on the spot.
Back at the museum, the Made in BC: Home-grown Design exhibit is on now until May 27, 2012, and is co-curated by Sam Carter, Professor Emeritus, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, and designer Patrick Gunn. Sam told me that you won’t find paintings and sculptures but you will find a custom snowboard, mountain bike, newspapers, typefaces, brochures, and everyday designs that connect creativity with industry. From Martha Sturdy, Fox + Fluevog, to Phil Nuytten, the collection is inspired by practical, functional, homegrown design.
The North Vancouver Museum is also hosting the John B. Holdcroft: A Civil Engineer’s Photographic Eye exhibit until mid-June this year and they recently acquired the BC Mountaineering Club’s archives which have been put together in an online exhibit.
The Presentation House is open Tuesdays to Sundays, 12:00pm to 5:00pm. I’m hoping to get over to the archives to do some research in the near future as well. They are open Tuesdays to Saturdays, 12:00pm to 5:00pm and some collections are available online.
Follow @NorthVanMuseum on Twitter or Facebook for exhibit and special event information.