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‘Totally Bowen’ museum exhibit is on now: revel in Bowenia

“Totally Bowen – A Curious Collection of Bowen Artifacts” is now under way at the Bowen Island Museum and Archives.
Higgins' cabin
The restored Higgins' Cabin beside the Museum & Archives in 2019

“Totally Bowen – A Curious Collection of Bowen Artifacts” is now under way at the Bowen Island Museum and Archives. The exhibit features a diverse range of artifacts and an abundant mixture of archival images and artifacts donated by the community as it outlines the history of Bowen. 

Visitors can follow a timeline of Bowen life, beginning with the early history of tourism, leading up to the playful golden age of steamships, parties and picnics. 

The heritage farm tool collection from the Collins Family Farm is now on display for the very first time, as it was recently donated by a descendant of the Collins family. This gallery provides a glimpse into the lives of one of the early settler families, who came to the area in the early 1900’s. Historical photographs of the Collins family working on their farm supplement the collection.

Drop by to learn something new about the most unique parts of Bowen Island’s history, including everything from the old Robinson Weavers shop to Lieben, the name given to the home of Einar and Muriel Neilson where artists and intellectuals relaxed, worked, and found inspiration. Artifacts on display from the Lieben house include handmade pieces of art crafted by various Lieben guests and by Einar himself. For those interested in Canadian art history, this display provides the opportunity to see some of the work produced by notable artists during their time at this Bowen retreat. 

A large collection of trophies and awards won by Bowenians over the span of many years is another highlight of this summer’s exhibit. The Gold and Silver Postmark Awards are just two of the many pieces that are part of this display. These prestigious awards were gifted to Rosa Helenius to celebrate her dedication to the role of postmistress after she continued working during a loss of power and record low temperatures amidst a severe winter storm in 1990. For those looking to delve deeper into the interesting history of the post office on Bowen Island, the “Totally Bowen” exhibit also features a collection of artifacts from the post office used by the various postmasters and postmistresses over the years, displayed in the wooden cabinet that acted as Bowen Island’s very first Post Office! 

The Museum and Archives aims to respectfully honour the First Nations history of Bowen Island. A collection of stone tools, including arrowheads, scrapers, and other implements, is currently on display. These artifacts were donated from various locations throughout Bowen, and they serve as a reminder of Bowen Island’s earliest history which began as a neutral meeting spot for Indigenous Peoples as well as hunting and fishing grounds.  

All of this and much more is now on display at the Museum and Archives as part of the Totally Bowen exhibit. This exhibit will be running all summer long. So, come by and prepare to be immersed in the abundant collection of stories, people, and objects that are totally Bowen and that make up a part of the Island’s rich history. The Museum and Archives are open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.