Chapple opens heritage museum

Barwick’s former general store now houses Chapple’s history after it was christened the Chapple Museum at an official grand opening ceremony yesterday at 4 p.m.
First owned by George Hughes, then Frank Gill, then Gill’s son, Arnold, the museum was donated to Chapple’s heritage committee about two years ago by the Gill family for the purpose of housing a museum.
Shirley Gill, wife of the late Arnold Gill, had the honour of cutting the ribbon during the opening ceremony along with Bill and Emily Clink, who set up most of the museum.
“They really did do a lot of work in the building, setting it up, getting it ready,” noted committee member June Wheatley.
“We kind of fell into the job,” laughed Emily Clink. “Bill was real interested in the museum part of the thing. We had the time to do it, and we liked the job.”
Clink said the hardest part was getting the building ready. A lot of repairs needed to be done, and the committee had to hire someone to clean the ornate tin ceiling in the store.
Then once everything was fixed, filled, painted, and cleaned, “the fun stuff started,” Clink said, and the museum began to fill up with artifacts from the past 100 years of Chapple’s history.
Antique furniture, farming equipment, family photos complete with histories, turn-of-the-century clothing, school equipment, and many more items found their way to the museum to be catalogued and put on display.
“People have certainly come through helping us out,” Wheatley said.
“People’s interests really got up when they saw things coming in,” echoed Clink. “People would say I’ve got such and such from my grandmother and bring it in.
“And that’s just for a beginning,” she added. “People are obviously going to bring more stuff. And there’s lots of room for expansion and or storing things.”
The grand opening was held yesterday because Sept. 14 marked the official incorporation date of Chapple. A potluck supper and entertainment followed the ceremony at the Barwick Hall.
Reeve Cecil Wilson said the community effort in establishing the museum has been tremendous. He noted Chapple was steeped with history–and was a starting point for many settlers here in the early 1900s.
He believed the museum was a good step towards preserving that past for future generations.
“If we don’t preserve these things, it’s going to be lost,” he warned. “There’s things [in the museum] that maybe would have been thrown out by some.”
“We feel it is important to preserve the heritage of the community,” agreed Clink. “People have this stuff stored in trunks in their attic, and it gets thrown out eventually.
“It’s nice to have a place where we can put them and keep them and everybody can enjoy them,” she said.