Anyone with home movies and vintage keepsakes from days gone by in Trail is encouraged to connect with the Trail Historical Society (THS).
The search is on for tucked away treasures, such as Little League games on film and classic uniforms, after archival gaps were discovered when the planning committee for the integrated library/museum entered into the exhibit design phase.
“Modern museums are not static displays of pictures and artifacts,” says society president Jamie Forbes. “One thing that is popular with new museums is audio-visual presentations. And something like a ball uniform would be an exhibit centerpiece.”
After sorting through the THS collections, Forbes notes extensive photographs but limited film and video – and he’s certain there must be more 8 mm out there in someone’s attic or basement.
“It doesn’t have to be sports, it could be something else maybe of historical significance,” Forbes said. “And it doesn’t have to be just videos, something that relates to the history of the community that maybe someone’s parents has boxed away for years.”
And what isn’t important to some, may be very significant to others.
“There’s a friend of mine who works at the landfill and he’s actually rescued stuff from the landfill,” said Forbes. “He has seen it happen, kids who may have been away from Trail for a long time and come back for the weekend to clear their parent’s house. Maybe they don’t have the time, understand the significance or value, and don’t think of the Trail Historical Society – but we do have interest.”
On the flip side, Forbes says the society is also in tight competition with memorabilia dealers – especially those who buy and sell sports history online.
“Another thing I look for is uniforms,” he explained. “Some sports memorabilia has value or will be worth something some day, so people want to hang on to the artifact – it’s a huge market.”
Forbes mentioned an authentic 1937-1942 Trail Smoke Eaters game-worn wool jersey that went up for auction in 2014. The society’s online bid was toppled, and the piece of Trail history went to a dealer in Edmonton for more than $10,000.
“I found the guy and asked him whether he’d be willing to donate it,” Forbes shared. “He flat out said ‘No.’”
So now, in addition to asking for donations of old uniforms and other heirlooms, Forbes emphasized the historical society welcomes artifacts on loan.
“Just in case, down the road, their child would like it back,” he added. “We can be creative in how we deal with each individual.”
And when it comes to home movies, Forbes reiterated the original will be returned and a DVD copy would be thrown in for free.
“We have some film and video we intend to use, but we think there may be people in town that have home movies, or that sort of thing that may be valuable to us, such as Little League ball games,” he said. “We would take the old film and put it on DVD for them, when they get it back and we have done them a favour – and we’ll pay for it.”
Finally, if someone is uncertain about an item, Forbes urges the person to contact him directly at 250.364.0829.
“If you’ve got something that you think would be of interest in our exhibits, give us a call and we’ll talk about it,” he added. “There’s stuff out there that we might just say, ‘Gee we’ve been looking for that for years.’”