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Museum of Me: Stories From Our Homes

Updated: August 18, 2021

Since the beginning of the pandemic, many of us have spent great amounts of time in our homes, allowing us to peruse the belongings that fill our space. Many of these objects represent meaningful stories of inspiration, history and identity. What objects in your life represent the expressions of your heritage, culture, lineage or creativity? We asked MOA staff to curate their own #MuseumofMe and here are some of their fascinating objects, artworks and photos. Explore #MuseumofMe on Twitter to see all the interesting objects that people around the world have shared.

We’d love to see your #MuseumofMe too. Send us your objects and we’ll share our favourites on social media. Select your object based on the following categories—or feel free to get creative, too. Email your submission to communications@moa.ubc.ca and include a one-to-two-sentence caption to describe your #MuseumofMe.

  1. An object that’s been passed down to you
  2. A tradition that you will pass down to someone
  3. Your favourite object
  4. Something that you collect
  5. A family photo

Nancy Bruegeman—Collections Manager

“A couple years ago my brother asked me to send him a photo of my old Volkswagen bus, from back when I lived in Lake Louise. I had bought a VW bus in the spring of 1982 so I could take the summer off and live in it, while hiking in the Rockies. I didn’t question the request at the time, I just assumed he wanted to show the photo to my nephew. But the next time I visited, he presented me with this little VW. The actual model wasn’t the same year or colour as mine, so my brother found paint to match the photo, and repainted the body. Then he cut up an old photo so he could glue my head onto the little figure in the driver’s seat! Given that only the side and back doors open on the model, I can just imagine how painstaking that must have been. I have a lot of memories of that summer. Now, thanks to my brother, I have a little reminder on my bookshelf that always makes me smile.”


Adelia Lee—Visitor Engagement and Experience Intern

“My grandmother was a creator and craftswoman at heart. She was a textiles artist and taught Fashion and Textile Design at Busan National University. I often remember experiencing (second-hand) the arduous process of her hand stitching every minute detail of bead and thread to fabric. It was only later on after her retirement from textiles that she moved onto a completely different medium – Hanji, a traditional Korean handcrafted paper. Every little detail from the Hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) down to the little booklet made for each doll were meticulously crafted by my grandmother and hold much sentimental value as well as cultural significance to me. These dolls are truly a beautiful expression of my Korean heritage and are a reminder to deeply cherish my cultural roots.”


Kaitlin Chamberlain—Collections Assistant

“I didn’t enjoy reading as a child and when I was gifted a box set of the first three Harry Potter books I was less than pleased at the length (for a seven-year-old, it was a lot!) I set myself the reachable goal of reading one page per day. One page turned into two, and then a chapter a day. Flash forward a month and I was sprinting down the block to tell a friend of mine that (spoiler alert) Hagrid  hadn’t actually opened the Chamber of Secrets. After that, reading was what I spent most of my time doing and what I became known for amongst friends and family. I still have at least one book in my bag at all times. While I’ve gone on to love other series I still return to that, now battered, box set.”


Jill Lindsay—MOA Shop Floor Supervisor

“This one-of-a-kind car means a lot to me, both for sentimental reasons and because it brings me joy to drive it.  My dad built it from the frame up, using a lot of ingenuity, skill, a vast array of seemingly random auto parts and lots of time.

It began when I was 11, as a project to build rather than buy my first car. I was 12 when I learned to drive a version that was far from “street legal.” My 16th birthday came and went and so did many more birthdays, and other cars.  As years passed, Dad began casually referring to it as his car. It soon became a long running joke in my family, when Dad would say something about his car, I would loudly correct him, “MY car.” 

It was 21 years in the making and once road-worthy, Dad delighted in showing it off. After all that time, he couldn’t be persuaded by any means to hand over the keys. After Dad’s passing in 2018, the car is now undisputedly mine. Every time I drive it, I think of Dad watching and with a grin I mentally correct him: MY car.”


Anya Maves—Curatorial Intern

“This typewriter is one of my favourite things. Out of the few typewriters I have collected this is the only one that types in cursive—in fact, it’s the only typewriter I’ve seen that is cursive. When I found this typewriter at a flea market with my mother it felt like we had stumbled upon treasure! I like to write letters with it to my friends and family who are freckled across Canada. When people used to be able to visit, my friends would be delighted to play on it and let their consciousness flow onto the page. Most of the time the Galaxie sits on my shelf but I love seeing it every day, it’s a reminder to be creative and have fun.”

Read A Curatorial Intern’s Journal: Deciphering Clues from Ceramic Tiles by Anya in our MOA Stories.


Alissa Cherry—Research Manager

“These artworks were done by me at very early ages. The abstract floral in crayon and watercolour was produced when I was two in March of 1975 and the blue snake in tree was done with ink and acrylic when I was four or five in 1977. I think these works demonstrate innate artistic ability that has sadly diminished over time. I have no recollection of creating these paintings, but my father matted and framed them (not very well) and sent them to my grandmother in California. They were discovered roughly 40 years later, lovingly wrapped and preserved, when we were cleaning out her house.

Another wall in my floathome on the Fraser River holds works by the same father and grandmother: Multimedia Seascape by Michael H. Cherry, post-retirement period, and Crafty Crewelwork Mushroom Needlepoint by Lucille V. Cherry, circa the 1970s. These are daily reminders of my wonderful family and to cherish any attempt to make the world a more beautiful place.”


Jill Baird—Curator, Education + Department Head

“This artwork by a street artist named Junky is from Seoul Korea in 2007. Since I have been working in my home basement office during the COVID-19 pandemic, the masked two-headed bird on my wall has changed significance—from the artist’s response to air quality, to a Coronavirus warning of a different kind.”

 


Hailey Mah—Communications Assistant

(Left) “This is my late great-uncle Ed Fong and great-aunt Dorothy, both born in Victoria, BC. Ed was a member of the all Chinese-Canadian Force 136 in WWII and was stationed in Australia. Force 136 was an important factor in giving Chinese-Canadians full citizenship and the right to vote in 1947. This sweet photo of them captures the warm, lively energy that I remember both of them by.”

(Right) “This scrapbook is a memento from the summer I spent living in Berlin and travelling through Europe. Made from an upcycled museum catalogue, inside each spread are envelopes filled with ticket stubs and photos gathered from the different locales and galleries I was lucky enough to visit.”

 


Sharon Haswell—MOA Shop Manager 

“When I look at this photo of my great-great-grandfather, Asajiro Noda, I smile at the family resemblance because my mother inherited his eyes. His father was a shipbuilder, when Asajiro was eight years old, a ship from Nagasaki accidentally sailed away with him on board. Yes, he was alone! When they discovered him, they put him on another ship that was meant to return to Japan, but he never made it back. So he sailed around the Pacific for years and eventually became the first Japanese person to set foot in New Zealand. He arrived as a young man and married my great-great Maori grandmother, Rihi Tipene Te Ahu. Read his biography here.”

 


Kristi Fuoco—Marketing + Communications Coordinator

“After my wonderful grandmother passed away I was given her bronzed baby shoes from the early 1900s. I’d never heard of shoe bronzing before—what a bizarre tradition. But now the shoes live on my bookshelf and make me think of her daily. My grandparents were extraordinary, loving and kind. Any object or photo that reminds me of them holds a special place in my heart and in my house.”

 


Bonnie Sun—Senior Marketing + Communications Manager 

“This is a photo of me and my parents on holidays in Vancouver, in Stanley Park, in the early 80s. During these times of COVID-19 and social unrest, I think a lot about my aging parents, and their vulnerability to the virus—and now also, to anti-Asian racism. I also think about their unspoken sacrifices and incalculable contributions for their family and their community at large. As we all face a new and uncertain future together, now is the time to honour—and act on behalf of—our elders and ancestors who worked so hard to lay the foundations of our lives.

 

 


Hollie Lo—Shop Financial Processing Specialist

“I started playing Dungeons and Dragons a few years ago and haven’t stopped the adventures since! It’s a creative outlet for me to collaborate with friends on fun and zany stories. Along the way, my dice collection grew with every new character I played. It’s incredibly fun colour-coordinating dice to match the personalities of all my different characters, like a stoic half-elf paladin or an inquisitive gnome warlock.”

 


Cody Rocko—Graphic Designer

“There is a deep pleasure in something which appears to be insignificant, unmarked, unknown when in fact it is extraordinary. Only knowledge can produce that depth of appreciation and this kind of secret satisfaction is powerful.” This mini exhibition catalogue takes the place of a traditional resume and represents a small portion of the “Archive of Natural Ephemera” collected throughout Cody Rocko’s life. See the catalogue here.