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

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Researching and Restoring Artifacts with Camryn,

Researching and Restoring Artifacts with Camryn

YCW Summer Student Camryn on her summer at the Pitt Meadows Museum.
My name is Camryn, and I’m a 4th year philosophy major at Simon Fraser University. After graduation, I intend to pursue a career working in libraries, and so I came to work at Pitt Meadows Museum during the summer of 2021 to build some skills and experience in research and archival work.
My project for the past ten weeks has been to identify and restore the antique farm machinery that is displayed behind the museum’s general store. Some of these old machines date back as early as the 1890s, and due to their age and wear, a lot of their identifying features they would have had in their prime have faded away. Luckily, a few resources have survived to make it to the Pitt Meadows Museum’s library collection or historical education websites that I could use for my research. One unexpectedly helpful resource was the online forums for antique farm equipment enthusiasts. Hobbyists from around the continent who dedicate their spare time into finding and fixing up old machines kindly provided their extensive knowledge on how to identify brands, and sometimes even models by year, for free to anyone else with a passion for agricultural heritage.
Once I had with certainty determined the make and model of a machine in our collection, the next step was to figure out how to bring the artifact back to life. For most, this meant a fresh coat of paint, with colours as accurate as we could find to what the originals would have been when it first left its factory. Across a variety of brands such as Oliver, Planet jr., John Deere, etc., it would seem that different shades of red and green were very popular options.
The Bucher and Gibbs potato plow is a special case; the wooden beam at the centre of the structure had been eaten away by rain, moss, and fungus, and so has been deconstructed to administer paint, replace rusted bolts, and most importantly, secure a new beam to tie it all together. If all goes well, there should even be the original Bucher and Gibbs Plow Co. logo painted across the beam when it’s all reassembled!
Prior to my work this summer, I had not taken a break between semesters for 4 years. I am very glad I decided to pause my studies for a couple of months to come to Pitt Meadows Museum and continue my learning in a whole new way. I’m also very proud to have contributed to the museum in a way that my work will have a positive effect for years.