War museum calling out for artifacts

Erin Haluschak

Record Staff

With a new name set to launch, the HMCS Alberni Museum (formerly The Alberni Project) is putting a call out to Comox Valley residents for items relating to an upcoming permanent exhibit in honour of the First World War.

Founder and Project Director Lewis Bartholomew said he is asking for community support for letters, photos, postcards, uniforms or any historical artifacts relating to the war from people in the Valley between 1914 to 1919.

“Visitors would come into the museum and would tell me their grandfather was the in the war; there’s a lot of local connections in the community,” he explained.

Bartholomew hopes the exhibit will be open by the first week of January 2015 in the museum located in the Comox Centre Mall.

“There’s a long history of people boarding ships and trains to Victoria (to head to war), and the Scottish Regiment has a long history in the Valley. There’s also a long military history with (CFB) Quadra and naval training,” he noted.

He added although the Comox Valley served as a “jumping off” place in the province during the war, the tradition continues today with Quadra and CFB Comox.

Currently, Bartholomew has photos, books and sheet music from the war, along with a brass tin box given to members of the forces from Princess Mary for Christmas 1914. He hopes to collect other items, and added the display would include stories behind the memorabilia.

He is also seeking additional information on the history of CFB Quadra in the community.

Bartholomew noted the change in name is to better reflect the location of The Alberni Project exhibit (and others) in the space.

“We really want people to know this particular location is a museum,” he explained, and added it is just the facility which is changing names, and the displays, along with The Alberni Project mobile exhibit, will remain the same.

Anyone with artifacts, heirlooms or photographs can bring them to Bartholomew at the museum near the blue arch entrance Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Items can either be loaned to the museum for an agreed time or donated permanently to the museum’s collection.

For more information on the Alberni Project Society, visit www.alberniproject.org.