Artifact of the Month: Vases

woven vases
Woven Vases donated by Kate Duncan

In honour of Earth Day, the artifacts of the month are a striking collection of vases woven with cedar by the Quw’utsun people. These vases, which were exchanged for clothing or other items with early newcomers, are examples of reusing and sustainability. Quw’utsun women would take a jar, bottle or other vessel from a newcomer, weave their detailed designs from cedar, and return with the completed vase. These beautiful vases celebrate the reuse of jars, bottles and clothing, promoting environmental consciousness and cultural heritage.

base woven vase
1992.67.7 Woven Vase

These vases vary in size and design, but share common elements that show the craftsmanship of Quw’utsun weaving traditions. Some of these vases have a sturdy base of cedar bark, providing a foundation for the intricate weaving. Local grass, bulrush, and wild cherry are expertly woven into patterns that go around the bottles, adding depth and texture to their designs. Loops and intricate designs adorn the mouths of the vases, demonstrating the skill and artistry of the Quw’utsun artisans who created them, and preserving their stories and legacy for future generations to appreciate.

The Owner

These vases were once part of the collection of Kate Duncan, whose family ties to the region spanned generations. Her husband, James Duncan, played a significant role in the Duncan family’s migration to Victoria, where they were active in the grocery business. Passed down through generations, these vases offer a glimpse into the interconnected histories of the Cowichan Valley and its inhabitants, celebrating their resilience, creativity, and cultural identity.

In honour of Earth Day, use up those leftovers in Scrap Soup! 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

You think leprechauns only treasure gold? See what the Cowichan Valley leprechaun loves the most.
Scroll down to see how to donate!

Help Preserve The Duncan Train Station!

vintage thank you card
“SNS card 147 doily thank you” by SoccerWidow1 is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Sheila says “Thank you!”

Help us to save the exterior of the iconic Duncan Train Station building that houses the museum. Our Buy-A-Bundle promotion hopes to raise funds for shingling the second story of the train station. Each $50 donation will buy a bundle of shingles.

Our fundraising goal is $60,000 – that will pay for the shingles, installation, paint, and all the other work involved in conserving the upper story of the locally and nationally heritage designated Duncan Train Station building.

For the person who has everything, a donation in their name makes a great gift. For each donation, you’ll receive a beautiful thank-you card and a tax receipt. You’ll also get a warm, fuzzy feeling every time you walk by the Train Station and see your donation at work.

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, Vice-President
Cowichan Historical Society
Telephone – 250-746-6612
Email: CHSBoard@shaw.ca

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View Our Generous Sponsors

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