February 20, 2017



The six Pender Islands Museum Society board members, or directors, for the year 2016 were, myself, John Mackenzie, chair, Peter Campbell, vice chair, Ursula Poepel, treasurer, Elizabeth Preston, secretary, Pierre Delacote, and Simone Marler.  Two positions were vacant.


The beginning of each year income by donations from visitors is low while fixed expenses continue.  The Tru Value Spirit Board is almost the only source of revenue during this time so, please remember the Museum at the check out, especially in winter.


In February we held our Annual General Meeting which featured a presentation by the author of the book “The Sinking of the Iroquois: Fact & Fiction” by Joan Neudecker.  The ship S.S. Iroquois served the Gulf Islands in the early 1900’s and in 1903 the canal between North and South Pender was dug to make the trip of the Iroquois’ from Sidney to Port Browning faster and safer.  Ironically the vessel capsized in a squall off of Sidney in April of 1911 with considerable loss of life, including Pender’s first school teacher Fanny Hoosen and her three year old son.  The book is a recommended read.


Later in the spring Wilf Craven, Pender’s long time Port Washington sheep farmer and antique clock and watch expert, thoroughly cleaned and adjusted the Port Washington Store wall clock.  The clock now keeps time the way it should.  This work was done free of charge. Although the clock was cleaned, no alterations were made to the original physical appearance.  It was decided not to replace the missing glass face as there is apparently a little story behind the breaking of it.  Peter Campbell can give you the details if you are curious to know what happened.


Also in the spring, Malcolm Armstrong, Pender’s widely acclaimed maritime artist, donated his memorial painting of Dave and Florence Davidson who built and lived in the “log house” constructed in the mid-1970’s which is situated next door to the Museum.  The Davidson’s ran Roesland resort until it closed in 1991.  The house is now the Parks Canada office on Pender.


In March, Simone Marler was welcomed to the board.  The Marler family have been part of the Pender community for many years and are credited with the donation of land on which the Medical Centre is located.


In July, the Port Washington Store came down.  Many people have fond memories of the place, but fortunately, many of the artifacts from the original General Store have been saved and are on display in the Museum.


Also in July, in recognition of our 11th anniversary of opening the Museum, the public were invited to attend our open house with traditional carrot cake and lemonade on the verandah.  It was also an opportunity to thank the many volunteers who keep the Museum running.

Several group visits to the Museum were hosted, mainly by Simone.  Group visits provide a different experience than random drop ins during open hours.  A group lends itself better to a tour guide approach which requires preparation and knowledge of our history on the part of the guide, and perhaps a flair for showmanship.  Planning is underway to not only put together an educational package for visiting groups, but also for training new hosts.  


Sandy Auchterlonie has generously offered to take over management of the hosting schedule from Elizabeth Campbell who has done the herculean task almost single handedly ever since the Museum opened 11 years ago.  Thank you Elizabeth!  Sandy and Simone are planning an orientation session for new hosts in March and again in May.


As summer drew to a close, the Museum Society set up a table at the Fall Fair with information and artifacts on display and later in the season, took advantage of the dry weather to apply a water repellant sealer to the ramp and floor of the veranda.  Thank you Pierre!  Peter Churcher of Parks Canada insulated under the floor of the gift shop and closed off the crawlspace from the outside to exclude rats, otter and mink, and remedy cold draughts at the gift shop desk.


In October Simone attended the BC Museum Association AGM in Whistler and took part in formal sessions, networking events, and field trips.  She reported that several innovative ideas were presented that could be applied to our Museum.  A list was put together of professional contacts which we can use to make improvements in our archival procedures, displays and gift shop.


Regarding the gift shop, it was decided to take a closer look at our offerings and concentrate on items that sell.  The book entitled “A Gulf Islands Patchwork” and the companion book “More Tales From the Outer Gulf Islands” continue be popular, while other items such as postcards, mugs and T-shirts less so.  A simplified gift shop, offering items people want, attractively displayed would be an improvement.  Although the Christmas craft fairs were not attended this year, the Museum was represented by Ursula at her table alongside jars of homemade quince jam.


The Museum was open afternoons from Boxing Day to December 30 with warm apple juice and home baked cookies.  Many visitors and their guests, took the opportunity to get out of the house and come down to the Museum.


The total number of guests to the Museum who signed the visitor’s book in 2016 was over 700 which is par for the attendance over the past several years.  Of course, in spite of the encouragement of our volunteer hosts, not all visitors take the time to record their visit.  A more accurate measure of attendance is now being made using a clicker counter.


We were particularly pleased that several visitors recognized and thanked our volunteer hosts for their attention.  In fact, I believe it was Rob England who impressed an American visitor so much that the visitor sent the Museum a donation cheque of $500. U.S.D.  In all, we consider that the Museum had a successful 2016 and continues to be a valuable asset to the community.


Looking ahead:


First up this year is a project Simone is working on with the help of a community service grant from her previous employer.  She plans to put together an educational package for grade school kids in cooperation of a local educator.


As a result of a contact Simone made at the Whistler meeting, we are in the process of arranging for an exhibit manager formerly of the Royal BC Museum to visit the Museum and offer his ideas for making the most of our displays.  Through another contact, the patchwork quilt may be taken to the RBC Museum for assessment by a textile expert to ensure it is not deteriorating as a result of less than ideal storage conditions.


BC has initiated a program to create an online database of societies in the province.  As with all societies, we will have to conform to the new requirements and upload our constitution after conversion to a word processor document.  The deadline is next November.


This year, is Canada’s 150th anniversary, a year in which many events are planned by local groups, some involving several groups in cooperation.  In August the board invited Krista Konkin of the Ptarmigan Music and Theatre Group to outline their idea for a theatre presentation based on stories gathered from Penderites to mark Canada 150.  The board unanimously agreed to support in principle their application for a grant to undertake this project. Since approval of  the first of two phases of funding from BC150, Krista’s husband Leon Willey is in the process of recording interviews with Pender islanders who may have interesting stories to tell.  If the second phase of funding is granted, script writing for a play will follow.


On June 9th and 10th a Bioblitz is planned with the cooperation of Parks Canada and the Pender Islands Field Naturalists.  The Museum will be open during the Friday and Saturday event and will encourage participants to view fossils and possibly other displays of natural history.


On June 23rd to 25th is the third annual “Tour des Iles” inter-island passenger tour.  Three days of special events, local music, natural beauty and art displays on the Southern Gulf Islands.  One of the several Pender hubs of interest will be the Museum.  This event may feature  pioneer weaving displays and demonstrations on the veranda.


Another novel idea has been put forward for sometime this summer.  An historic driving tour of the Penders using the community bus.  Several stops and on board tour information was brainstrormed.  Perhaps the South Pender Island Historical Society could take care of a south Pender leg.  Stay tuned.


This coming fall PIMS is looking to host a presentation by Ann Gafiuk, author of a book about Grover Sargent, an airman who lost his life when his training plane crashed near Clam Bay in February of 1943.  Ann has done a lot of research and the result should be a valuable record of the incident.  She is widely known as an engaging speaker on historical subjects.


Ongoing work is to be done in the archives to catalogue and scan the most interesting documents and writings.  Unless external funding can be obtained, this will have to be done in a prescribed way by volunteers.  A couple of new members have expressed interest in this area.


In conclusion, I would like to say my Third year as chair has been a fun and challenging experience.  The successful running of a society and small Museum requires energetic board members with knowledge and creativity, and I would like to thank the 2016 directors for providing both during this past year.  With the goal of building a larger membership in the society, the board will endeavour to ensure the Pender Islands Museum remains an essential part of the community. - John Mackenzie, Board chair



February 21, 2015






It was nearly thirty years ago, in 1986, that a small group of Pender old-timers lead by Douglas Harker, got together with a common interest… the history of this place.  Early discussions and meetings were held with a goal of forming a museum society and eventually establishing a location for a physical museum.  Once the Pender Islands Museum Society was formed, a gradual collection of ephemera related to the Pender’s history began.  Items of interest were stored in members back rooms, garages and sheds with much being stored by Peter and Elizabeth Campbell.  


The society has had the following mandate:  


To acquire, catalogue, display and preserve historical artifacts, documents and photographs related to the Pender Islands and to make them available for public viewing, education, research and inclusion in varied community activities.


Over the years there has been considerable fund raising and donations given to make the Museum a reality.  The many volunteer hours of  labour done to save the derelict Roe Farmhouse from demolition and repurpose it as the Pender Islands Museum is nothing less than impressive.  


A few names stand out, such as Peter and Elizabeth Campbell, Ursula Poepel and Mark Slater.  Peter has been chair of the board and Ursula treasurer for several years.  In fact, Ursula’s years of service as Treasurer of the Society was honoured last year with a lifetime member award.  Mark has always been an enthusiastic supporter of the Museum.  In the past, Doreen York and Em Round have been board chairs and Nancy Chatfield, an outstanding secretary.  


By way of quick introduction to the other current board members we have, myself, John Mackenzie, I took over the role of chair from Peter Campbell in March of last year, Kari Huhtala, Secretary; Jim Stafford; Elizabeth Preston; and Pierre Delacote.


2014 was a very interesting year at the Museum.  


In January we finally got our water hook up thanks to Parks Canada which meant Ursula no longer had to bring large yellow plastic jugs of water from her home to the Museum… more floor space!  Also in January we purchased the digital projector you see here, which now augments the usefulness of a digital camera, laptop and scanner/printer purchased in 2013 with funds from the Nu-To-Yu.  


In February, as usual, we held our Annual General Meeting featuring Lyle Eriksen, a Brackett family member, who gave us a very interesting photo presentation of Brackett history on their pioneer farm at the end of Port Browning.


In March a First Nations dugout canoe was discovered in an old boat house near Port Washington.  The canoe was offered to the Museum and retrieved, mended and hung from the ceiling of the Museum for display.  Peter gets the lion’s share of credit for this feat and for enhancing our First Nations display.  


After our board meeting in March a cleaning bee was held in preparation for opening the Museum weekend afternoons starting Easter weekend.  Thanks especially to Pierre and Elizabeth Preston for their help getting the Museum ship shape for the Easter opening.


In April the recently formed South Pender Island Historical Society visited the Museum and ways of exchanging historical information and co-hosting events was explored.  Today’s presentation by David Spalding and Peter Campbell about the Aldridges is an example of this measure of mutual interest.  


In May, quotes were obtained for the re-painting of the Museum exterior which is showing signs of algae and mildew growth and flaking paint.  As the summer flew by it was decided to defer painting to 2015.


In June we received word that our application to Young Canada Works to hire a summer student was approved.  The purpose of the application was to provide an opportunity to a university student pursuing a degree in some aspect of curatorial work, to learn in a museum environment how to catalogue artifacts.  We quickly posted the job opportunity and were lucky enough to hire Skylor Knoll who fit the job requirements well.  Skylor did a great job going through a great deal of our collection, describing, recording, and digitizing and making available online, access to a good part of our artifacts.  There is a link on our website to the digital collection including descriptions and photographs.


There were several occasions when the Museum was opened for group visits.  In early July we had two separate groups of around 24 persons each visit the Museum from the Killarney Seniors Centre in Vancouver.  Needless to say contributions to the donation jar were significant and most welcome.


In July, I met with two Parks Canada employees who are working on a project to develop a computer-based guide to Roesland.  This should be available to the public this summer.  


Another project currently in the works by Parks Canada is putting together an activity booklet for 7-12 year olds full of things to do in the park reserve.  One of the activity pages that they want to include is a visit to the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre, the Pender Islands Museum or the Fog Alarm Building on Saturna. This would hopefully encourage more kids and their families to visit these places. Once the kids complete their booklet there is a Parks Canada furnished prize to collect at each of the locations featured.


On August 11th the Museum was paid a visit from the great great great granddaughter of Robert and Margaret Roe who built their farmhouse, now the Museum, in 1908.  She generously offered to the Museum a magnificently ornate (and heavy!) mantel clock that was given to Robert Roe in 1883 in recognition of his distinguished service in the Linthouse Ambulance Corps at the Daphne Disaster.  The Daphne was a ship that overturned and sank upon launching with the loss of some 124 lives near Glasgow Scotland in 1883.


At the Fall Fair, the Museum set up a display table in our usual location near the entrance to the Hall.  A new attraction was a DVD video display of historical photos from our archives which proved to be quite popular and generated several inquiries and discussions about certain photos.


A highlight of November for board members was our “field trip” to tour a fascinating collection of licence plates of all kinds right here on Pender Island.


And just when we thought the season was winding down, twenty members of the Newcomer’s club visited the Museum the following week.  


The total number of guests to the Museum who signed the visitor’s book was about 620 compared to a number in the mid-700’s in 2013, which seems to indicate a possible declining trend during the past three years.  Visitors came mostly from Canada and the US, but a few originated from locations as far flung as Europe and Asia. One couple even kayaked over from Sidney!  Comments left in the guest book included: “awesome; informative; fascinating; and charming”


As Christmas drew near, the Museum set up a gift shop sales and information table at both the Yuletide Craft Fair and the Santa Sale.  A total of  $334. was netted in sales.  Thanks to those involved.


Looking ahead:


Despite a learning curve in managing a summer student employee last year it was found that the progress in cataloging was significant but unfinished.  It was decided therefore to apply for a federal Young Canada Works grant again this year in order to continue the work.


Because the Museum was formally opened on 16th July 2005, we are planning our 10th birthday open house in mid-July.  National Parks Day also falls in mid-July and it may be possible to coordinate with the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve to jointly observe their celebration of  Parks Day and our anniversary at Roesland.


The projected 2015 Museum Calendar was not published for technical reasons, but the Museum intends to publish it as the 2016 Calendar.  The calendar should be available in July in celebration of the 10th Anniversary as it features the restoration of the Roe House as the Museum.  Hopefully early availability will result in greater sales.


We are fortunate to now have sufficient financial resources to make necessary upgrades and repairs to the Museum, and desired improvements to displays and curation.  


So in conclusion, I would say my first year as chair has been a very rewarding experience.  The successful running of a society requires a board of significant knowledge and creativity, and I would like to thank the board for contributing their own talents and expertise during the previous year.  With member support, the board will continue it’s endeavour to make the Pender Islands Museum, as one visitor commented, “awesome!”


Respectfully submitted:


Directors of 2014:  John Mackenzie (Chair and Website),  Peter Campbell (Vice-Chair and Historian),  Ursula Poepel (Treasurer),  Kari Huhtala (Secretary and Grant Funding),  Mark Slater (Community Co-ordinator),  James Stafford (Professional Archeologist and Membership),  Elizabeth Preston (Education), and Pierre Delacote (Archiving and Bon Vivant!)  Ex-officio and Docent Management: Elizabeth Campbell






Directors of 2013:  Peter Campbell (Chair), John Mackenzie (Vice-Chair), Ursula Poepel (Treasurer), Kari Huhtala (Secretary), Mark Slater (Community Co-ordinator), and James Stafford (Professional Archeologist).  Ex-officio:  Elizabeth Campbell


Note:  To request a copy of the 2013 Annual Report, please send an email to the Museum at



By Peter Campbell, Chair of the Board of Directors, Pender Islands Museum Society

The operation of the Museum in 2012 followed the pattern set in previous years with the Museum open on weekends from Easter to Thanksgiving from 1 pm to 4 pm but with extended hours from 10 am to 4 pm in July and August. In addition, as is customary, the Museum was open between Christmas and New Years from 1 pm to 4 pm to accommodate visiting relatives and friends of Pender Islanders. The total of visitors to the Museum who signed the Visitors Book was in the mid-700s which was in line with previous years. However it was noticeable that the number of visitors from distant Provinces, American States and other countries was significantly lower than in past years.

The Museum was also opened by request on three occasions for visits by organized groups from off-island. One of these was a lunch hour visit by the Islands Trust Council who were holding their annual meeting on the Penders. Many of the Trustees from the eleven other islands of the Islands Trust made flattering comments about our Museum and were envious of our achievement.

Our Museum was formally opened on 16th July 2005 and we have observed our annual birthday on a Saturday in mid-July by serving cake and punch to our visitors. National Parks Day also falls in mid-July and for the second year the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve chose to observe their celebration of National Parks Day at Roesland in conjunction with the Museum. The occasion was again a success with Parks arranging tents, chairs, a sound system and First Nations stories and games while the Museum provided The Highlanders Pipe Band, historical notes and punch and cake. One young lad was detected lining up for his fourth piece of Nancy Chatfield’s delicious carrot cake.

The Museum participated in the Pender Island Fall Fair for the 26th consecutive year. Through the kindness of Karl Hanson, the Museum was able to participate prominently in the Fall Fair Parade. Karl permitted the Museum to place Museum signs on his wonderful and colourful 1922 Essex and two period costumed Museum members waved graciously from the back seat as Karl with his mother beside him in the front seat led the parade. The Museum tent at the Fair was well attended and featured interesting artefacts and photographs from our collection including the always popular “what-is-it?’ display.

Items from the Gift Shop at the Museum were sold at the annual Christmas Craft Fairs in late November and early December. A limited number of an historical Museum Calendar entitled “Then and Now” was produced this year and proved popular with all copies sold by the New Year. Our first historical museum calendar was produced for 2002 and sold for $10, the same price as this years calendar. Very few items for sale today can make that claim. The pencils with the Museum Logo for sale in the Gift Shop have been transferred from “stock” to “publicity” in the financial ledger as the result of an incident. when a family with two young children were visiting the Museum. The parents were very interested in all the exhibits but the children considerably less so and were anxious to leave. On a whim, the duty host gave each of the youngsters a pencil and explained the significance of the logo. The transformation of the youngsters was startling and they began to take an interest in other artefacts. The parents were most pleased and left a $20 donation. Children now visiting the Museum are given a pencil with the Museum logo. A brand-new museum tradition had been established.

Three noteworthy additions to the Museum’s artefacts and photographic collection have been received in 2012. Through the kindness of the Underhill family, the Museum has been given a native 16 foot dugout canoe which was previously the property of the Grimmer family. Its provenance is not yet fully established but it obviously has a long Pender Island association and is a valuable addition to our collection. Some American descendants of Alexander and Jeannie Hamilton contacted the Museum and sent copies of photographs from early family albums. The photos are particularly welcome for the place, year and identity of the subjects are included. Alexander Hamilton acquired property at the head of Port Browning in 1886 and he was joined by his brother Hugh in 1889. The third item is a historical scrap book kept by the late Celia Pemberton, a charter member of the Museum Society. The scrap book contains many photographs and publication cuttings of value to the Museum archives.

Our application last year to the Federally sponsored Young Canada Works program for a student employee during the summer was unsuccessful. However, we have reapplied for a University/College student for this coming summer and if successful we will be able to make some significant progress on our project to digitalize our collection of artefacts and photographs and make them available as an on-line database for the education and enjoyment of other interested parties across Canada.

In conclusion, the Museum has had a successful year of operation and has continued to fulfilled its mandate as a Community Museum to collect, preserve and display artefacts, documents and photographs that relate to the history of the Penders. However, our continued success as a Museum is completely dependant on those of our members who volunteer as hosts during open hours. Without them the Museum could not survive.

Respectfully, Directors of 2012:  Peter Campbell (Chair), John Mackenzie (Vice-Chair), Nancy Chatfield (Secretary), Ursula Poepel (Treasurer), Kari Huhtala (Grants and Fundraising), Mark Slater (Community Co-ordinator), James Stafford (Professional Archeologist) and for the latter part of 2012, Brenda Heath (Cataloguing and Marketing).  Ex-officio:  Elizabeth Campbell




By Peter Campbell, Chair of the Board of Directors, Pender Islands Museum Society

The operation of the Museum in 2011 followed the pattern set in previous years with the Museum open on weekends from Easter to Thanksgiving from 1 pm to 4 pm but with extended hours from 10 am to 4 pm in July and August.  In addition, as is customary, the Museum was open between Christmas and New Years from 1 pm to 4 pm to accommodate visiting relatives and friends of Pender Islanders.  The Museum was also opened by request on three occasions for visits by organized groups during the year.

The operation of the Museum is completely dependant on those of our members who volunteer as hosts during these open hours.  Although it would be desirable to extend our open periods to include some week days during July and August,  such action is beyond our ability to provide a sufficient number of volunteer hosts at this time.

During the closed period between New Years and Easter a number of changes to the exhibits were carried out.  Two new glass fronted cabinets were introduced and various artefacts were replaced.  Some rearrangement of  the core displays was made to better utilize the space. Two or three photograph albums from the archives were placed on a table with a chair so that visitors could rest and peruse early photographs of scenes and activities on the Penders.  

2011 marked the 25th Anniversary of the formation of the Pender Islands Museum Society and the 100th Anniversary of the founding of Canada’s National Parks system.  Our Museum was formally opened on 16th July 2005 and we have observed our annual birthday on a Saturday in mid-July by serving cake and punch to our visitors.  By happenstance this year, the mid-July Saturday was the 16th which was also declared to be National Parks Day.  The Gulf Islands National Park Reserve (our landlord) decided that their celebration of National Parks Day could best be observed at Roesland in conjunction with the Museum.  The occasion was a success with Parks providing tents, chairs, a sound system, parking attendant, some musical entertainment and a First Nations story teller, while the Museum provided The Highlanders Pipe Band (courtesy of Director Mark Slater), cake and punch and two speakers on historical matters.

As is customary, the Museum was represented at the 2011 Pender Island Fall Fair for the 25th consecutive year.  This year, however, Elizabeth Campbell used her considerable powers of persuasion to convince the Chairman of the Museum Society that the museum should enter a float in the Fall Fair Parade.  A large styrofoam model of the Museum building was produced and was mounted on a grocery cart kindly loaned by the True-Value Store.  This float, if one can call it that, was pushed by Elizabeth and bravely escorted by John Mackenzie (both in period costume) in the parade.  

All those associated with the Museum over the past 10 years were saddened by the untimely death of Em Round in late August.  Em was elected to the Board of Directors in 2000 and played a key role in negotiations with Parks Canada for the licence of occupation of the Roe House as a Museum.  He served as Chairman of the Board from 2006 to 2010 and was appointed a Life Member of the Museum Society at the last AGM.

The Museum had a table at the Craft Fair at the Community Hall in late November and at the Craft Fair at the Anglican Church Hall in early December.  Although the variety of articles for sale at our gift shop had been increased with the addition of mugs, pens and pencils, sales at these Fairs were modest as the Museum had not produced an historical Calendar this year.  Because sales of the 2011 Calendar had been disappointing it had been decided to pause for a year and plan on a 2013 Calendar.  From the number of queries about the missing calendars, this may not have been a wise decision.

This year the Museum has made a significant start on joining the digital age.  Members should check our updated Web page for information concerning the Museum.  In addition the process of transferring our archival collection of photographs and documents to digital form is underway.  We owe this transformation to John Mackenzie who joined our Board of Directors last spring.  Similarly, a start has been made on recording our inventory of artefacts in digital form, a task initiated by Director Diane Logan.

For the information of our membership, in early January 2012 the Canadian Museum Association encouraged our Museum to apply for a student employee under the Federally sponsored  Young Canadian Works program for the summer of 2012.  Accordingly, we have submitted an application for a University/College student to assist us with eliminating our backlog of  registration of artefacts and archival material and the conversion of records to digitalize form. The approval of our application is  problematical.

In conclusion, the Museum has had a successful year of operation and has continued to fulfill its mandate as a Community Museum to collect, preserve and display artefacts, documents and photographs that relate to the history of the Penders.  But there is so much more to be done. There is a backlog of artefacts and archival material to be examined, assessed and catalogued or discarded and digitalized.  While there is wide support in the community of the Penders for the Museum, there is a need for more active participation by islanders. The number of volunteer hosts upon which the very existence of the Museum depends must be increased.  There were vacancies on the Board of Directors this past year and although the population of the Penders is increasing, our membership list is not.  How can we correct this situation?

Respectfully, Directors of 2011:  Peter Campbell (Chair), Diane Logan (Vice Chair), Nancy Chatfield (Secretary), Ursula Poepel (Treasurer), John Mackenzie (Webmaster), Mark Slater (Community Co-ordinator).  Ex-officio:  Elizabeth Campbell