A Maple Ridge Museum trip to ‘The Great Outdoors’

Summer exhibition takes us back to good old days of camping

With summer rounding the corner, one of the greatest outdoor pastimes to indulge in is camping.

From portable cook stoves to how to dig the proper trench for your tent, “The Great Outdoors” is the summer exhibition at Haney House Museum, which focuses on camping in the early 1900s using artifacts from the Maple Ridge Museum collection that pair with items that would have been available to order through the Sears Catalogue.

The 1920 edition of the catalogue is used as guidebook to outline essentials needed to explore the wilderness, but still be comfortable. The tour also focuses on the evolution of camping through archival photographs from the museum collection.

One of the more unique artifacts on display this summer is an “Economical Steam Cooker,” donated to the museum by the McCauley family of Haney. Showing signs of use, the free-standing cooker would have been one of the more useful pieces of equipment for campers, or hunters, perhaps next to keeping one’s tent dry, as it allowed for an alternative way to cook food beside an open fire.

Also on display is another version of the “cook stove” – a small combination heater and stove burner used by the Archibald family on camping trips. Purchased in the 1920s, it would have been $4.45 from the Sears Catalogue, and the burner could work for up to eight hours: heating dinner and keeping you warm on a chilly night outdoors.

Besides exploring the wilderness through hiking and canoeing, fishing is a large part of the camping experience.

In the 1920s, fishing rods were made from bamboo, lancewood and steel, ranging from $1 to $3. The wood fishing rods currently on display were donated to the collection by Cyril Nickols of Haney.

Fishing hooks were equally essential to catch a fish and came in many shapes and forms, and in 1920, for 25 cents, a standard single hook could be purchased. The strength of fishing line needed to thread the poll would depend on the desired catch and salinity of the water: each package would cost between 50 cents and $2.

“The Great Outdoors” summer tour is on display currently until the fall at Haney House Museum, and will be showcased with free tours of the house on Tuesday, July 1st during an outdoor Canada Day celebration on the museum grounds. Alongside the tours, there will be children’s games and crafts and food. This is a free event and open to all ages.

Although a tent and a cook-stove are not needed to partake in the annual Music on the Wharf concert series, a lawn chair is helpful to enjoy the music playing at the Port Haney Wharf.

The Maple Ridge Historical Society’s summer concert series kicks off Monday, July 14th at 7.30 p.m., with Blackberry Wood performing.

A full schedule and line-up is available online at mapleridgemuseum.org or by calling 604-463-5311.


Allison White is the curator of the Maple Ridge Museum.