The BC Farm Museum has the province’s largest collection of pioneer and agricultural artifacts.

 

 

In 1953 the donation of a single high-cut walking hand plow by Mr. R. J. Coleman to the University of British Columbia started a planning process to establish an Agricultural Museum in the Fraser Valley. It was decided that Fort Langley would be a better location than UBC and work began by raising money and acquiring land.

R.A. Coleman provincial plowing champ

 

 

 

 

In the beginning……

On 23 May 1953 Bruce Coleman, on behalf of his family, presented his father’s high cut plough to the University of British Columbia. The late Robert Alfred Coleman had its mould board, share and the angle of its beam shaped on the anvil of the late Alex Ross of Bruce County, Ontario, in 1900. It was brought to Ladner, British Columbia in 1905 when Mr. Coleman purchased a farm on East Delta. Two years later he entered and won his first ploughing match. From that year until 1939 Mr. Coleman and his plough won nine firsts, seven seconds, five thirds and a fourth prize. Crowning this achievement, in 1930 he took top honours at British Columbia’s first provincial ploughing match. He was champion ploughman at the Provincial Ploughing Match each year until 1937. From 1937 until his death in 1941 R.A. Colemen acted as judge at district and provincial ploughing matches. Dr. Norman McKenzie, president of UBC accepted the acquisition on behalf of the university
It needed a home, and the thought was it should be an agricultural museum, at UBC. In February 1958 a meeting was held in the hospitality room of the Fraser Valley Milk Producers Association (FVMPA) Fifth Avenue plant with a group of industry leaders to determine what support the proposal might expect, A decision was made that evening that notice be given that a British Columbia Farm Machinery Association was being formed with a goal of funding and operating a museum to be located on the Endowment Land on Point Grey. On 24, June 1958 the British Columbia Farm Machinery Association received a Certificate of Incorporation. After the Association was formed to raise funds for the project, the location was switched to Fort Langley. A 33-foot lot on King Street was then donated to the museum by the council of the day, on condition the association would pay for buying another 66 foot lot next to it, which it did. 

 

The Museum was officially opened on 19 November 1966 Within a very short time a second building had

to be erected to house a growing collection of agricultural artifacts.


The ground breaking ceremony for the BC Farm Museum happened in 1966 when Archie Stevenson of Cowichan, BC President of the British Columbia Federation of Agriculture turned the first sod for the eight-thousand square foot building.  It took nearly nine years to raise sufficient capital to erect the original building. The museum was officially opened on November 19, 1966 by Sir Robert Billinger, Lord Mayor of London and included display space, an archives room, and a work shop for repair and restoration of exhibits. Within a very short time a second building had to be erected to house a growing collection of agricultural artifacts. Phase Two and Three were officially opened in 1978 (Phase Three was the Steam Room).

Since 1990, when federal funding dried up, the BC Farm Museum Association has been run entirely by volunteers and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. We are all ‘standing on the shoulders’ of those that volunteered before us and each adding what we can by using our experience and knowledge.

  

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Downstairs in our workshop area we  undertook a large renovation project. This involved moving walls, adding a new heat source and enhancing the area in general. With both a busy wood-working shop and a mechanical shop numerous projects are on the go continuously.

The Grand Unveiling and the ribbon cutting to open our renovated workshops was on Saturday June 17th 2017.

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Our ‘Interactive Presentation Terminals’ project is a real hit with all ages. This method of getting information electronically is easy to use and popular with the younger tech savvy visitor. With the use of a smartphone or a tablet kiosk station the visitor is provided with both audio and visual presentations to explain the relevance of the item or items they are looking at.

    

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2017 saw us develop a new feature display that tells the story of our museum and the key people involved over these past 5 plus decades. This new display adds to our popular existing displays. A good example of our most recent ‘feature display’ is called “Hard Lines”. This is the story of the early Canadian land surveyors and the hardships they faced in setting out all the boundaries and property lines that we now take for granted. The railroad line had to be surveyed so it could be built and that is what brought all the early settlers to the West. The homesteaders could then find their land by locating the survey posts and the rest is history.

    

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Our visitors…..       The thousands of visitors, including local school aged children, all have high praise for the work that we do in preserving the artifacts and re-telling the stories that go along with them. The Farm Museum draws tourists from all over the world and each year we get visitors from between 25 and 30 countries.
The majority of museum visitors are not local, rather they are farmers and history buffs from Germany, Holland, Scotland and the Midwest of the United States. The large guestbook is filled with signatures from across the globe and their comments are glowing reports of their enjoyment of their time spent at this special museum.

 

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We kick off the year once again with our opening in April  which will then be followed by a large entry in the very popular May Day Parade in Fort Langley in May.

In our gift shop you will be able to buy a number of anniversary souvenir items.

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The museum is always changing and when people say “Oh I have been there several years ago” they are missing a great deal!

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Our Website (www.bcfma.com), Facebook Page (BC Farm Museum) and Twitter (@FarmBC) account take time to keep things fresh and relevant. Social media is important to us! Please visit us often for the latest on upcoming events.
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