By James Rose
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Project completed with help from J.A. Laird students

The Windermere Valley Museum is constantly evolving. One of the latest changes is the upgrade of the museum’s welcome signage— a project completed this past March.

With the help of a grant from the Columbia Valley Community Foundation and students from J. Alfred Laird Elementary School, museum goers are now greeted by four distinct languages: Welcome (English), Ki’su’k kyukyit (Ktunaxa), Weyt-k (Secwepemctsin), and Taanishi (Michif). Laird students also helped contribute to the addition of 215 hands to commemorate the graves found at the former Kamloops Residential School on the museum’s exterior hand railings.

“It’s our role to accurately reflect our valley’s history, not change it,” Sue Macdonald says. “And educate people, as well as entertain.” Macdonald is on the museum’s board and has been involved with the museum for the past twelve years since retiring as a social worker and counsellor.

The project initially began in 2020 with a focus on the museum’s historic buildings. But with the onset of the pandemic, Macdonald says the museum decided to change course. “The project changed in scope.” The museum was already thinking of improving its First Nation display with better signage.

Inside the museum, the Shuswap display also has a new sign and there is a new one in the works for the Ktnuaxa display.