You might have heard that the museum opened a new exhibit on the photographs of The Whistler Question yesterday (if you haven’t, The Whistler Question: A Photographic History 1978-1985 opens at 6 pm on Friday and will run through November 30). Thanks to everyone who came to celebrate the opening with us, especially our guests Paul Burrows and Glenda Bartosh!
While many of the photographs appeared in the newspaper with context provided by their respective captions and articles, there are many more that we don’t know a whole lot about.
The amount of information we have on photographs in our collection varies depending upon the photograph. Often the person donating the photograph is able to tell us exactly who is in it, where it was taken and what was going on at the time; other times the photograph has a caption written on its back that provides some information.
Some photographs, however, are donated to the museum without any names or dates given other than those that can be identified by museum staff.
When this happens we rely on the community for help identifying people, places, dates and events. If we are able to identify one or two people in a photograph then often we will ask them if they are able to identify anything else about the image. Social media is also very useful, as those who follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram and our blog are able to comment and add what they know, whether they took the photo, are in the photo or recognize something about the photo.
A (somewhat) recent article about Worlebury Lodge and the Burge family included a photo of a group hike to Rainbow Falls in the 1950s or ’60s. Of the 15 people pictured only two had been identified. Luckily for us, one of the members of the group read the article and was able to provide 10 more names, including his own (top, second from left). He was also able to narrow the date of the photo to around 1959. Being able to add information like this to the photograph’s entry in our database makes it much more likely that the photograph will be included when someone searches for a specific person, place or event in our database or online galleries.
While recognizing and identifying subjects of a photograph on social media is incredibly useful to the museum, reminiscing is much more fun when you’re with other who share some of the same memories.
Whether you’ve recently arrived in town, have visited over the years or have lived here for decades, everyone is invited to Naming Night at the Whistler Museum at 7 pm on Thursday, September 21, to help us find out more about the photographs in our collection (there will be free admission for the evening and a cash bar).
We’ll provide the photographs, ranging from the 1950s through the 2000s (with perhaps an emphasis on the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s due to the overwhelming number of photographs in The Whistler Question collection), and we’ll be relying on you to provide names, places, events and stories of the photographs and their contents.