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Time travellers visit heritage sites

Sunshine Coast Museum and Archives
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Jan DeGrass Photo

Museum assistant Matthew Lovegrove and curator Kimiko Hawkes are ready to launch Time Travel Sunshine Coast.

Science fiction fans have wanted to time travel ever since H.G. Wells wrote his famous story, The Time Machine. The Sunshine Coast Museum and Archives is a place to time travel using your imagination by reading history books and looking at archived photos. Now, the museum has taken it one step further.

On Oct. 12, the Time Travel Sunshine Coast project will release a new mobile application (app) to be downloaded for use with your smart phone. The smart phone walking tour allows users to explore 16 heritage sites on the Sunshine Coast on their mobile phones, such places as Gospel Rock, the Heritage Playhouse and the wharf.

"It's a way to bring in audio and video," said Matthew Lovegrove, curatorial assistant at the museum. "We can hear the stories of these sites while standing at that location. You become your own guide and pull up the history on your phone."

At first staff thought to custom design the software but found that a useful host existed in the Time Travel BC website, run by a provincial museum association. Go to www.TimeTravelBC.com for a look at other interesting heritage sites in the province.

The project was funded by the Sunshine Coast Community Foundation allowing the museum staff to integrate a professional look to the video. Lovegrove worked with volunteer Gord Jackson to find the 16 points of interest that were easy walking, and he wrote the scripts based on research from the museum's collection. Tamar Kozlov did the video production, and for the voice-overs, the museum turned to Bruce Devereux at Christenson Village to see if any of the senior residents remembered the times gone by as they appear in the archival photos. Several of the seniors offered to read the parts with narrative drawn from the oral histories the museum has collected over the years. The voices of local seniors make the stories come alive as they read about, for example, fishing from Salmon Rock. The audio is blended with a series of archival images that open up the past.

It's interesting to see the photos of Sully's Dine and Dance (where Gramma's Pub is located now). The audio recreates the voice of Frank Sully who moved from Vancouver to Gibsons to operate his store by day and offer a dance floor at night. Good times, indeed! Think about what it meant to live in a small town with very few telephones — a public phone was available in the Winn family's living room, home of the telephone exchange.  

Though this Time Travel Tour covers sites from Gibsons to Roberts Creek only, Lovegrove hopes to continue the project up the Coast, perhaps partnering with other historical organizations.

It won't replace the many books the museum stocks in its library, he points out, but it does offer another tool to access information. "It allows us to connect with history in a new way, see it through new eyes," he said.

After Oct. 12, you can download the app for free with these links: for the iPhone application, see http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/time-travel-bc/id487098232?mt=8 or for Android application, see :http://bit.ly/LONLTl. Once you have downloaded the app, look for Time Travel Sunshine Coast.

For assistance, call Matthew at the Sunshine Coast Museum at 604-886-8232 or e-mail scm_a@dccnet.com.


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