“Treasures from the Collection”: Recounting Cannery Counters

In addition to writing the “Collections Catch of the Week” blog, our 2019 summer Collections Assistant Enid Au has researched, designed and installed a new “Treasures of the Collection” exhibit, now on display in the Cannery’s front lobby. 

The inspiration behind Recounting Cannery Counters was born from an interest in exploring past technology and stories of cannery workers through the medium of counting devices. One notable observation was how counting devices worked in the 1950s; most of the objects chosen for this display did not rely on electricity to function, but rather kinetic motion. For example, the Counter for the Vacuum Closing Machine relies on nothing more than a trigger push to increment, which is telling of its intricate mechanical design.  

The study of these artifacts also allowed a glimpse into our donors’ pasts and how their stories connect to these objects in our collection. The recounting of these individuals experiences in fishing and cannery work has offered added detail to the re-imagining of BC’s West Coast fishing industry, and the lives of those involved in it. One might imagine how their own life would have been if they’d been born 60 years earlier; perhaps involved in the fishing industry, in the same boat as many other British Columbians.  

  Collections Assistant Enid installing the new display

The finished display. Thank you Enid for all of your contributions this summer! 

Posted by m.horita
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