Vanderhoof is soon to see the opening of a major new tourist attraction.
A museum is in the works for the vacant department store on Burrard Street featuring one of Vanderhoof’s most famous residents – writer Rich Hobson.
Hobson published three hugely successful books in the 1950s and early 1960s about his experience ranching in the Chilcotin and Vanderhoof areas. The books continue to sell well throughout Canada and the U.S. today. He was also working on getting a major Hollywood movie done before he died in 1966.
The museum, set to open April 2 will feature a huge collection of artifacts which trace his family back to the Mayflower and medieval Europe. The collection will include personal possessions, manuscripts, pictures, books and letters among others.
Hobson’s father Rear Admiral Richmond Pearson Hobson Sr. was a U.S. Navy Medal of Honor winner and congressman. He will also be featured heavily in the museum, along with Rich’s mother Grizelda, who moved out to Vanderhoof in 1941, and both of whom are now buried at Arlington National Cemetary.
The museum will be dual-themed, paying homage to both writing and military heroism.
A number of volunteers headed by Vanderhoof resident Wayne Deorksen are working together with Hobson’s daughter Cathy to develop the collection and display them in the museum.
Volunteers working on the project have found a large number of fasinating references to, correspondence with and signitures of famous people, presidents, exlporers, military commanders, international statemen and religious leaders.
Plans for a coffee shop, gift shop and a Hobson library are also in the works.
The idea for a museum came about in March last year after Cathy Hobson, who lives in Kelowna, decided to rent her house out. She enlisted the help of friend Barb Penner, Deorksen’s sister, to help her clean and declutter the house. Penner soon discovered a huge number of old artifacts and decided to call her brother for advice.
“Barb gets in there and phones me in Prince George and says “Wayne there’s presidents signitures on the wall – should they be here?” and I said “i’ll be right out.” So I went straight out and I saw what she had in the house and said “oh my god – I cant believe you’ve got this stuff!”
Since then, Deorksen has been working with a team to go through all the artifacts and bring them to Vanderhoof, with permission from Cathy.
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