After over a year of planning, the Rich Hobson History Museum is officially open for business.
“We’re good to go … and it’s very exciting,” said museum curator Wayne Deorksen.
The museum was originally set to open on April 2, but was pushed back due to construction delays.
During it’s first few days of business, the museum saw a number of out-of-towners coming through including visitors from Abbotsford and Logan Lake.
“It was nice to know that the out-of-town initial visitors gave us really good reviews and they thought that the museum really added to what they already knew about Rich,” said Deorksen.
The museum predominantly features Vanderhoof’s main claim to fame – writer Rich Hobson, along with his wife Gloria Hobson and his parents Captain Richmond Pearson Hobson and Grizelda Houston Hull.
Hobson published three hugely successful books in the 1950’s and early 1960’s 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 features a huge collection of artifacts which trace his family back to the Mayflower and medieval Europe. The collection includes 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 is also featured 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 is dual-themed, paying homage to both writing and military heroism.
Deorksen expects visitors will be impressed with the number of photographs the museum has to offer.
“When people read Rich’s books, there are no pictures or illustrations in them and so they don’t know what Rich would have looked like in his younger years … we have some amazing old pictures on display and plenty more to come,” he said.
He added that displays in the museum will be constantly changing and there will often be new exhibitions.
Other exciting features of the museum include the Hobson mini-theatre and a re-creation of the Rimrock Ranch house where Rich and Gloria lived.
Deorksen will also offer free guided tours, along with a genealogy consultant of the museum, Karla Mork.
The museum will also have a cafe which is still under construction. Launi Penner, Deorksen’s niece will be opening the cafe in the next couple of weeks.
Deorksen says he will be holding a grand opening of the museum but hasn’t firmed up a date at this point.
“We want to be really prepared for the grand opening, so we’re not having it yet,” he said.
July opening hours for the museum are noon til 7 p.m., seven days a week.