In a race against time, the Fernie Museum’s Community Memory Project seeks to document the memories of the current generation of community elders to help create a greater understanding of our history. This project will build on the research of past museum staff and community historians, such as John Kinnear, Mike Pennock and Mary Giuliano.
The project will be undertaken in several phases and with different segments of the community.
With research undertaken for the recent Picariello exhibit, the Museum’s first project is documenting the history of Fernie’s Italian Community. With generous corporate donations from Rizzuto Construction and the Sombrowski Family (IGS Group) , the Museum has now applied for a two grants to support this research and develop a Virtual Museum of Canada Community Memory website. A committee comprising of Mary Giuliano, Garth Rizzuto, Barry and Rosanna Anselmo, Alba Fabiano, Lina Campisi, Louis and Louise Gentile and Piera Grabas has been struck to support a research team comprising of Dr. Adriana Davies and Cory Dvorak.
As part of each Community Memory project, such as the Fernie Italian Community Project, local history will be researched and documented in three areas:
Project staff and volunteers will work with local families to document their stories, using ship records, birth, death, and marriage records, religious records along with oral histories and photographs. Additional research will be undertaken using Fernie’s two local papers, the Fernie Free Press and the District Ledger. Family traditions, such as traditional recipes, will also be documented.
Church groups, benevolent societies, ethnic societies, sport organizations/groups, and bands are just a few of the organizations that have long been the backbone of our community. Project staff will seek to partner with active groups and organizations to research and write the organization’s history. With organizations and groups that are no longer active, project staff and volunteers will undertake research using archival sources and oral histories.
Since the 1880s, Fernie has had a vibrant business community which has provided a range of services and products; some businesses today, such as the Fernie Free Press, stretch back to the earliest beginnings of our community. Regardless if they have been in business one year or a hundred years, the Community Memory Project will seek to document the stories of local businesses.