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Heritage programs aim to bring history to life

Don Fennell   Apr-15-2019

More than 55,000 visitors saw the restored Steveston tram last year.

Photo by Chung Chow


A common refrain among students is that “history is boring.”

They argue that the classes are dull and unrelatable.

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But just as students tend to learn better when classes are more interactive, bringing history to life also makes it more interesting.

That’s long been a priority for Richmond’s museum and heritage services. In 2018, ongoing efforts to engage the public led to a new focus on place-based cultural tourism initiatives, including the launch of the Steveston Heritage Experience Tour and Winter in the Village.

Several new initiatives are also planned in 2019, including the creation of a brochure for all heritage sites in Steveston and a passport program to connect the sites, said Marie Fenwick, manager, Museum and Heritage Services.

In addition to a detailed year-in-review, museum and heritage services also presented a stellar video to city council April 8 highlighting programs in 2018. It was crated in the city’s media lab.

Key highlights in the staff report include:

• Majority of visitors had positive experiences at Richmond museums and heritage sites, with 87 per cent of respondents to a visitor survey rating their experience four out of five or higher;

• A new focus on place-based cultural tourism initiatives, including the launch of the Steveston Heritage Experience Tour and Winter in the Village;

• Volunteers contributed over 22,000 hours throughout the city’s museums and heritage sites including the new Artefact Avengers—specially trained volunteers who assisted with the specialized work related to the city’s artefact collections;

• The 11th annual Doors Open Richmond attracted 15,000 visitors who explored 41 sites;

• The 16th annual Richmond Regional Heritage Fair where 500 students presented 100 projects celebrating various topics in Canada history;

• The Grand Prix of Art returned with 150 artists plein air painting throughout Steveston Village;

• London Heritage Farm continued to be popular for weddings, teas and community events;

• Restoration of the Steveston Tram was completed, and the site welcomed over 55,000 visitors.

Piloted in 2018, Winter in the Village helped boost visitors to Steveston outside of the peak summer months. The program featured more than 25 free or low-cost family activities through November and December.

A new program was also introduced at the Richmond Olympic Oval. The Olympic Experience led to a 10 per cent increase in visitors, with over 34,000 people taking in the interactive attraction.


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