Time waits for no one it is said, but what about when it makes a grand journey only to find itself back home? This story has all the makings of a wonderful story that ties our rich local history into the present. Our involvement all started recently with a new connection we made at our local museum, the Cowichan Valley Museum. We’ve been lucky enough to make contact with Kathryn Gagnon who is the Curator/Manager at the Cowichan Valley Museum & Archives, and through this new connection we are launching a brand new series here on our blog called “The Cowichan Valley Museum“. We really hope you enjoy experiencing the artifacts and events here at The Hollow with us as we roll out this new feature series.
Kathryn came to the valley quite by accident. She’s now been here for 10 years playing an important role in the community and working on new features and exhibits in an effort to bring a larger awareness of the museum as a whole to locals and visitors alike. She sees the Cowichan Valley Museum as a means to share the history of our communities within the larger context of the overall community, representing and supporting them each individually in allowing their own unique voices to be heard in the process. This is achieved by creating a shift from the convention style of curatorship where the museum and/or the curator is the authority. This also means the museum is very accessible to everyone and is full of pertinent information and wonderful exhibits.
So with this all in mind, we start our new series today with a post that features this wonderful antique clock. In and of itself it’s a beautiful piece, but as with many things in life when you delve deeper a really rich story emerges.
The building the Cowichan Valley Museum resides in is the second incarnation of a train station in the town of Duncan. The first one story building was constructed in 1887 and in short order Duncan had outgrown it. As Duncan became a boom-town, the E&N group came in and took the first one down and replaced it with the 2 story building in 1912 that still stands today. Rowland Fawcett was the first Station Master at the train station, and he was also a Mason. As such, when he was married in 1914 the Mason’s gave him a special wedding gift. A beautiful clock.
The special plaque that celebrates the event and the gift is still here and is in near perfect condition. What a wonderful example of the longevity and quality that went into the creation of pieces like this 100 years ago. In today’s age we don’t see things that are many years old still functioning and beloved by a family as we do with heirlooms and artifacts like this.
The clock came to the museum through a very interesting series of connected events. Some of the Fawcett family members ended up living on the mainland, and they treasured several key items from Rowland’s days as Station Master. The clock being one of them. Eventually ending up in the hands of the granddaughter of Rowland Fawcett, she truly wanted these items returned to the museum as it was their rightful home originally. In 2007 this came true as part of a special ceremony for the museum, finding the granddaughter in town to cut the ribbon for the refurbishment work on the museum that had just been completed, and presenting the clock as a special item meant to go on display and to be remembered and cherished by the community moving forward.
This story serves to remind us how truth is far more interesting than fiction in many cases. And how wonderful to think that this item started its life right here in this very building, and after having spent decades away it found its way back home at a very meaningful time. As they always seem to say, Tempis Fugit.
If you find yourself living on or visiting Vancouver Island, we really encourage you to make some time to visit the Cowichan Valley Museum. There are many terrific exhibits on display, with more coming, making for a perfect place to spend some time to connect with our past. We hope to be featuring more of these stories in the future, so please stay tuned for those.
Thank you so much for your kind visit to The Hollow today, we really appreciate it. As always, we love to hear from all our visitors, so please do feel free to leave us any comments you may have below.