This past week, while browsing the Tourism Victoria event calendar website and wondering what to do with my daughter the next day, I stumbled across a calendar item for a Lego exhibit going on at the Sidney Museum & Archives. Hmm, I thought. I wonder where that is? I had never heard of the Sidney Museum before.
I decided to visit their website to find out more. It turns out that the museum is located right on the main street of Sidney-by-the-Sea. Although their website needs a little work (there’s way too much going on on it) it made the museum look interesting enough and I learned that the entry fee is by donation. So Chelsea and I drove up there the next day to check it out. (Even though she’s never played with Lego before I figured that she and I are always up for an adventure! And what’s not to like about Lego?)
It turns out the Sidney Museum is a nice little place. It’s not large by any means but they’ve done some good things with the space they have. I can’t say that I read many of their exhibit signs – the hazards of going through with a three-year-old – but their displays were generally well presented. The Lego exhibit was a hit, of course, and we easily spent 45 minutes there browsing everything in the place. Chelsea enjoyed playing with the chalk slates in the old-fashioned schoolroom and I was pleased to see that there was an interactive Lego table featured at the end of the self-guided visit for her as well.
One of the highlights for me, however, was chatting with the elderly gentleman sitting at the front desk near the end of our visit. While Chelsea played “Mommies and babies” with a jungle set of Lego animals, the volunteer (I guess) told me a couple of interesting stories and was generally really wonderful to talk to. It turns out that he was in the military in World War II and was able to get on the first troop ship home from Europe. (Really quite amazing as I believe it took years to get our troops home.) It’s no surprise that it was a trip that ended in Canada (Montreal, I think he said) with a huge celebration. Afterwards, instead of going back to his home town of Edmonton, he decided to take a train trip out to Vancouver instead. He’s called BC home ever since.
It makes me think that museums are not only valuable for the displays and information presented, but also for the people who choose to volunteer their time supporting them and sharing their own stories. Easily double my age, this gentleman is a small slice of living history whom I was happy to learn from that day. If the Sidney Museum has more volunteers such as he, I’d love to learn from them first-hand about their life experiences. Who better to keep history alive for the rest of us than those who lived it?