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First Nations Basketry Collection


With the support of the CURA program, the White Rock Museum & Archives embarked on an exciting project focused on the research and documentation of the Museum's First Nations basketry collection. The collection consists of nearly 200 baskets, which range broadly in type, style and cultural background.

In the summer of 2001, Museum Volunteer Sandy Porritt and Collections Assistant Katherine Hale photographed, numbered, cleaned and accessioned each basket in the collection. This cataloguing resulted in a searchable database of the basketry collection.

The next phase of the project involved participation from faculty and students at the University of Victoria to research the collection. Under the supervision of Dr. Nancy Turner, graduate students Faith Whiting and Karen Petkau, undertook a detailed study of the baskets, each pursuing a different, but related line of research. Faith focused her research on the types of plant materials used in basket construction and their geographic origins, while Karen researched the construction techniques and decorative patterns on the baskets and how they relate to different cultural uses. Both students produced extensive research papers, which have been deposited with the Museum.

As a result of their in-depth study, a small booklet and an exhibition were produced at the White Rock Museum & Archives. The exhibit, entitled Carrying a Culture: First Nations Basketry , was on display in the Museum's main gallery from September 21 to November 17, 2002. The long-term goal of the project is to make the basketry information available on a website. At the moment, a number of records and images have been uploaded onto the Museum's internal website. Within the next year, several more records will be added and the website will be going online. The White Rock Museum & Archives is very pleased with the outcomes from this project.

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