Archives Temporarily Closed

Duncan City Hall
Duncan City Hall
Photo courtesy of City of Duncan

Renovations will begin soon on Duncan City Hall, which houses the Cowichan Valley Archives. In anticipation of construction, the contents of the Archives will be carefully wrapped and transported to a climate-controlled space. While renovations take place, the Archivists will not have access to those materials so will not be able to respond to requests. Check back for updates on when the Archives will re-open. See the Cowichan Valley Citizen article about the renovations here.

Earth Day School Program – Huge Success!

Wash Day
Students do laundry the “old-fashioned” way.

As part of Earth Day celebrations, students from schools throughout the Cowichan Valley got to experience Earth Day at the Museum! Students looked at how the Quw’utsun people are stewards of the land and how earlier residents of the Cowichan Valley reduced their consumption of materials, reused what they could, and recycled or repurposed things they could no longer use. They searched for items in the museum that naturally conserved resources. Students remarked on how much they learned about the environment and made new connections to the past. “It was really fun and I liked everything!” remarked one student.

Artifact of the Month: Bobette

1984.097.005 Bobette, 1910

In honour of all the resourceful mothers and other women out there, the artifact of the month is the Bobette. At first glance, it looks like it might be something frightening out of a movie, but it is, in fact a useful tool to help the do-it-yourselfers create their own hairstyle.

 The bob was a short hairstyle, usually about jaw level, which began to gain popularity in the 1910s. The 1920s saw its popularity rise as stars such as Gloria Swanson and Josephine Baker sported this new style. Prior to this, most women  had long hair that was often braided or pinned up, so this “do” was seen as a symbol of emerging feminism, in part due to newly gained voting rights.

Gloria Swanson bob
“Rudolf-&-Gloria-Swanson” by Nostepinne is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The bob saw many new hair salons spring up as women needed someone to style their hair, unlike when it was left long. Not everyone had access to hair salons or couldn’t afford the cost; hence the emergence of the “Bobette.” For the low cost of $1.50 (still not cheap), a flattish box would arrive and women could put together their very own template for this trendy hairdo.

Cowichan Valley Museum Bobette

Bobette close-up
1984.097.005 Bobette, 1910

The example at the Cowichan Valley Museum, from 1910, has nine metal pieces that are screwed together and would have been slipped onto a woman’s head like a cap. The nuts are for raising or lowering the cutting edge to the length and shape of the desired haircut. A woman could get her scissors ready, cut along the metal edges and achieve the latest coif. On our example, some of the metal pieces have rubber strips attached to the underside, probably for greater comfort.

In honour of Mother’s Day, see CHS President’s recipe for carrot cake. Yum! See the recipe here.

Duncan Train Station News!

Train Station Window Project

This project aims to put large historical photos into the exterior windows of the  former 1912 Duncan Train Station which houses the Cowichan Valley Museum. Thank you to our generous donors who have donated $1800! This will allow for the installation of 6 photos!


Buy-a-Bundle goalThanks to everyone who has Bought-a-Bundle! We appreciate your support, and we are edging closer to our fundraising goal! This will allow us to replace the shingles on the second story of the train station (shingles, labour, permits, etc.) Check back for updates!

Latest Buy-a-Bundle Video

The Easter Bunny got help this year from some wonderful recruits!
Scroll down to see how to donate!

You can make your donation:
*At the Cowichan Valley Museum, located in the Duncan Train Station. We accept cash, cheque and credit cards.
*By cheque made out to the Cowichan Historical Society. Please mark “Bundle” on your cheque. Mail it to P.O. Box 1014, Duncan, B.C., V9L-3Y2, or drop it at the Museum.
*By e-transfer to cvmuseum.archives@gmail.com (a question/answer is required: please use Where is the museum? Answer: Duncan – and add Bundle in the comments). For a CRA tax receipt (for donations of $25.00 or more), please send an e-mail with your full name including middle initial, and mailing address, including postal code to cvmgive@gmail.com or fill our the form below.

Get on board and Buy-a-Bundle now!
For further information contact:
Sheila Kitson, President
Cowichan Historical Society
Telephone – 250-746-6612
Email: CHSBoard@shaw.ca

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City of Duncan - British ColumbiaMunicipality of North Cowichan, British ColumbiaIsland Corridor Foundation  Cowichan Valley Regional District