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General Store Site 12294 Harris Road Pitt Meadows, B.C.

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Museum Assistant Mark talks podcasts and Japanese Canadian history,

Museum Assistant Mark talks podcasts and Japanese Canadian history


Hello! I’m Mark Chen and I started working as a museum assistant in September of 2015. Working in the museum has been an enriching experience for me as a history-lover, as it allows me the opportunity to work with and explore Pitt Meadow’s history.

 

Since I started volunteering at the museum, I have been making episodes of the Pitt Meadows Museum Podcast. The podcast contains oral history interviews with locals about their memories of Pitt Meadows’ past and their reflections of the city’s development toward the great place it is now. For me, collecting oral histories is a personal approach at learning history as it allows me to see through the eyes of someone that has lived through the experience. It lets you to have a sense of reality in history. Oral history also allows you to look at a historical event through a multitude of perspectives, giving you a more comprehensive understanding of history rather than just looking at the mainstream facts.

Some of the podcast have also been turned into oral history “listening centers” at the museum – please make sure to have a listen the next time you come!

Away from oral history, I have also been passionate about the history of Japanese Canadians in Pitt Meadows. Ever since I was child I have been intrigued by the culture and it was very exciting for me to discover that a large portion of Pitt Meadows population was Japanese before the 1942 Japanese Canadian Internment. Because there was very little information about these residents of Pitt Meadows when I first arrived at the museum, I started a research project with the help of Leslie Norman, the Curator. It was a fascinating experience for me to travel to various archives around the lower mainland and bring pieces of the puzzle together. Last summer, I also had the opportunity to travel to Winnipeg to interview some of the living Japanese Canadians who were relocated to Manitoba in 1942. You can find a few of those interviews by clicking the link above.

Before starting to volunteer at the museum, I had not even set foot in Pitt Meadows. However, my experience at the museum has made me fall in love with the city more and more. As a New Canadian, learning about the history of Pitt Meadows and Canada at the museum also allowed me to better assimilate myself and become a community member.