Lighting up Vanderhoof museum with Christmas

This December, Vanderhoof’s museum promises to become a beacon for visitors and residents with lights, trees, and Christmas.

This December, Vanderhoof’s museum promises to become a beacon for visitors and residents cruising through town — with lights, trees, and Christmas.

Normally hibernating through winter in the past, the Vanderhoof Community Museum will bring Christmas-themed festivities to its grounds for the first time throughout the last month of the year, said Jessi Wilson, president of the Nechako Valley Historical Society.

With over 4,000 visitors this summer, the museum had a successful season after its closure last year, including its first-ever A Night at the Museum event in August, Wilson said.

Including more community support, grant funding, as well as assistance from the District of Vanderhoof, the museum also played host to student staff this summer from UNBC, she said.

“I want to see it become a place where people go, not just for tourists, but people in our community to make it a gathering place,” Wilson said, adding that a historical church building on the grounds could serve as a wedding venue.

“You go for a walk [on the historic site] and you’re still in town, but it’s nature, it’s history.”

The museum will welcome visitors with Christmas-themed historic buildings and the OK Cafe offering light refreshments — such as hot chocolate served in Christmas mugs, and the December festivities’ will serve as a joint fundraiser for the historical society and the Vanderhoof Aquatic Centre, Wilson added.

Including nearly 150 trees, historic and fiberoptic Christmas lights, as well as thousands of decoration pieces, the majority of the collection came from the re-use shed, said Barb Penner, who has sorted the deposited items by Vanderhoof residents for the past five years.

“I would see and I kept collecting Christmas, because I love Christmas,” Penner said. “It was heartbreaking to see these pieces go into the landfill.”

She added that as a project and by telling people that the collection came from the re-use shed, it shows the value of what was thrown away.

“When you’re dealing with used things, it just doesn’t look all beautiful,” Penner said. “It should be used again; we can make our town beautiful.”

She would also add a few antique pieces from the now-closed Hobson museum, where she had also shown the Christmas collection from 2011 to 2012.

“It was well received, but the collection has grown since then,” Penner said.

The museum would be a convenient location to house the large amount of items, as it allows the collection to be shown and then locked away afterwards, she added.

“It’s a big project to show for a couple of days,” Penner said. “If you show it outside, you have snow.”

Many volunteers have already shown interest in helping with the decoration and tree set up, she added.

“It’s quite the collection, and it’s free!”