Following in the tradition of Willy Shakesbear and Queen Elizabear the First, the museum’s holiday theme this year is “Pair with a Bear” in recognition of the originator of this annual cherished display.
Lois Meyers-Carter, who died earlier this year, wanted to create a museum exhibit that would remind us of the creative holiday windows in the large department stores in the city. She wanted to offer Bowen Islanders the opportunity to experience the wonder she felt as a child standing mesmerised before a towering storefront window, her mind transported to magical places.
Lois also wanted to introduce children in kindergarten and grade one to their community museum and archives.
The museum put on the first Teddy Bear Holiday Display in 2000. That year, a large Harry Potter teddy bear was the star of the raffle. Shirley Wrinch created this bear, sewing the clothing, knitting the scarf and adding a wizard’s cape and Quidditch broom. Shirley made sure that the Harry had the identifying authentic scar on his forehead.
Lois had a knack for garnering enthusiasm and excitement for the projects she was passionate about and this was one of her favourites. She reached out to the community and found many individuals who were happy to loan the museum their cherished bears. She brought in numerous volunteers to welcome museum visitors and she made certain that school groups had the opportunity to visit, listen to bear stories and create a decoration to place on the tree. She, with the help of many volunteers, created an enchanted wintery world that we try to recreate every year.
This year we are working with Island Pacific School students. The students are helping articulate and curate the exhibit with specific attention to volunteerism.
Lois’s contagious enthusiasm attracted a cast of hundreds over the years to contribute their time and ingenuity to creating a space for Bowen to remember its past. We want to honour her contribution.
The exhibit runs Dec. 2 to 22. The museum will be open Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sundays noon until 4 p.m. Visitors may bring in a toy they’d like to pair with a bear.