HERITAGE WEEK: Exhibit traces how we communicate

Kailey Erickson and Hazel Godley

Kailey Erickson and Hazel Godley

Communicating is at the core of progress and the ways in which we exchange ideas have changed dramatically over the course of human history.

A new exhibit at the Mission Museum, The Evolution of Communications, opens Monday at the Second Avenue facility and follows the progression of several major companies and showcases an extensive collection of artifacts, many donated by local families.

But it’s not just typewriters and cellphones filling the display space.

One of the most interesting items in the collection, according to museum curator Joanna Karczmarek, is the peace pipe.

This long-stemmed pipe was crafted by Anthony Taulbut and given to municipal council in 1929 after politicians couldn’t solve a dispute. The pipe was introduced and members of council would smoke it at meetings. It was used until 1965, she said.

“This is an early example of my idea of ways to communicate,” she explained.

A full row of antique and slightly more modern typewriters are presented and the clock that rang the bells at Mission high school. One of the first projection machines, called a magic lantern, is at the museum too.

Light passes through metal plates and a picture is then displayed on the wall which the storyteller uses to illustrate the tale, said Karczmarek.

A crystal radio, popular in the early 20th century, is available to view, and is one of the first wireless instruments of communication. During the Great Depression, a crystal radio could be built from a five-cent piece of galena crystal and safety pin wire. Soldiers built them in the Second World War from razor blades and pencil lead.

One of the first cellphones used in Mission is housed at the museum, said Karczmarek. It came out in 1984 and cost $4,000.

The curator said communication technology changes quickly, but most people used the items until they broke.

The exhibit opens Feb. 21 and the museum is open from 1 to 4 p.m. It is located at 33201 Second Ave. For more information call 604-826-1011 or visit www.mission.museum.com.