The North Vancouver Museum

Comments 6 by Rebecca Bollwitt

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.

North Van Museum North Van Museum

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.

North Van Museum

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.

North Van Museum

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.

North Van Museum North Van Museum

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.

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6 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. Peter MillerMonday, February 20th, 2012 — 2:26pm PST

    Nice photos – iPhone? 😉

  2. jpp452Monday, February 20th, 2012 — 2:45pm PST

    Thanks for this. Didn’t know North Van had so many interesting “firsts.”

    It’s been a while since I’ve been to the museum. It’s obviously time to see it again!

  3. Jim LawrenceMonday, February 20th, 2012 — 2:47pm PST

    Hi Roxanne:: Thanks for your email; I have not had an opportunity to visit Presentation House and the new exhibit; planning to do so soon. I have been directly or indirectly involved with the Museum & Archives for over 20 years, I was a member 20 years ago of the Museum & Archives Committee of the City and over the next few years we finally had the District come aboard to form the Commission. I have known Shirley Sutherland about that same length of time so please give her my kind regards. Keep up the good work and give my regards to Nancy and Jan as well. Thanks. Cheers. Jim

  4. Tom BellMonday, February 20th, 2012 — 4:03pm PST

    Glad to see our history preserved and that the “Heritage” portion of our tax dollars are well spent. I have lived in North Vancouver all of my life so it is important to me to see all the changes to our great city well documented.
    However, not all of the changes, over the years have been for the better, with modern day densities getting out of control. I’m sure the early Indian population did not like the idea of big sailing ships coming to the Pacific North West to change their lives forever. With our history examined, maybe we will learn from our mistakes and not be in such a hurry to over populate. Our wonderful North Vancouver life style can not be preserved for future generations by having to too many people with too many people problems. History will document what we have lost, if we do not get control of our destiny soon.

  5. John O’FlynnMonday, February 20th, 2012 — 8:05pm PST

    Good blog on an important cultural aspect for those living in the City and District of North Vancouver.

  6. Sage LePretreSunday, February 26th, 2012 — 9:32am PST

    I’m quite new to North Vancouver and thank you for preserving history. Thanks also for the information about The Presentation House. A Senior my age was born here, lived her whole life here, and talks about North Vancouver in her childhood years. So much has changed already and it makes me sad that much of Lonsdale is changing now. I’m happy that heritage buildings are being preserved and that there’s green space which I hope will be here forever. Our Grandchildren and their children will also treasure history of North Vancouver. It’s a privilege to live here and to learn of the past. Thanks.

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