Cranberry picker baskets were used to harvest the berries before the practice of flooding the fields became commonplace. Ann Blaauw donated these vintage baskets to the B.C. Farm Museum. Volunteer Mike Prangnell shows the two baskets. (B.C. Farm Museum)

Cranberry picker baskets were used to harvest the berries before the practice of flooding the fields became commonplace. Ann Blaauw donated these vintage baskets to the B.C. Farm Museum. Volunteer Mike Prangnell shows the two baskets. (B.C. Farm Museum)

Langley’s farm museum welcomes generous donation

Volunteer-run B.C. Farm Museum recognizes two local supporters

The B.C. Farm Museum will be able to turn its wish list of projects into a to do list thanks to a $250,000 donation from a local farmer.

Ann Blaauw made the donation recently and museum vice president Syd Pickerell said it will help secure the future for the 54-year-old facility.

“She recognizes that the farm museum, it’s all done by volunteers, and we struggle a bit like all museums do,” he said.

A coronavirus-safe event allowed the BC Farm Museum to recognize her and former MLA Rich Coleman who have supported the volunteer-run museum over the years.

Cake, physical distancing &and masks were all part of the brief informal appreciation morning coffee at the BC Farm Museum in Fort Langley on Monday, Nov. 2.

“A few directors and some of the regular volunteers gathered to say thank you to two individuals who have been very supportive of the museum’s efforts to preserve our pioneer life heritage,” said Grace Muller.

The museum board presented an award to Rich Coleman for his support during his many years as MLA.

“As the government representative Rich has been available and supportive of Farm Museum activities,” Muller said. “His advice and support has been much appreciated.”

• READ MORE: Firefighters gala raises $600,000 for hospital ER expansion

A crystal award was also presented to Blaauw.

Pickerell said the donation came about after casual conversations between Ann and the Township. She then contacted the museum about donating.

Ann and her late husband, Tom, originally emigrated from Holland and farmed in Langley for many years. They had a poultry operation and were one of the first local farms to go into cranberry growing.

After his death, she sold the farm and has given donations to a variety of causes including the ER expansion at Langley Memorial Hospital, Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children – the only pediatric rehabilitation and developmental services facility of its kind in B.C., and more than $5 million towards the purchase and preservation of a 30-acre Glen Valley eco forest now owned by Trinity Western University and bearing the Blaauw family name.

Just a few months ago, Ann Blaauw donated some farming artifacts to the museum, including a two-handed cranberry picker basket circa 1950s.

Nowadays, farmers flood the fields to let the water remove the berries from the bushes.

“Before that people picked them dry,” he explained.

The cranberry baskets are perfect examples of the lessons of the farm museum – how technology has changed over time and introduced labour-saving devices that changed people’s lives and livelihoods.

“That’s what the museum is all about, trying to show people how the progression has moved along,” Pickerell said.

• READ MORE: Langley family gives generously to B.C.’s sick kids

The museum has received other financial donations, but the Blaauw contribution is the largest it has ever received with no strings attached, meaning the museum’s volunteer board can decide how to best spend the money.

“We can use it in so many things. We have so many projects on the go,” Pickerell said.

Currently the museum volunteers are working on a project to have better lighting on the artifacts and examining a radiant tube heating system to provide better temperature control in the large museum buildings.

Pickerell explained that would allow more use in the off-season, making it more comfortable for seniors tours, school groups and others. The museum board is examining having 4-H groups use the space for meetings, for instance.

“We would love to expand,” he added. “We really have more artifacts than we have room for. Temporarily we are housing some of them at close-by farms, but we really need to bring them home to the farm museum.”

The museum is staying where it is but would like to secure some nearby property, he said.

The museum is closed for the winter season but will reopen April 1, 2021.

The facility was open for part of the season this year with COVID-19 protocols in place, Pickerell explained, so the board is confident about welcoming back the public in a few months.

September the 30th, the last day of our open season. Reopening again on the 1st April. It's not too late for a visit….

Posted by BC Farm Museum on Wednesday, September 30, 2020

.


Got a news tip?

Email: heather.colpitts@langleyadvancetimes.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

FarminghistoryMuseum

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Rich Coleman was given an award by B.C.Farm Museum vice president Syd Pickerell for his support of the Fort Langley museum over the years. (Mike Prangnell/B.C. Farm Museum)

Rich Coleman was given an award by B.C.Farm Museum vice president Syd Pickerell for his support of the Fort Langley museum over the years. (Mike Prangnell/B.C. Farm Museum)

A small gathering at the B.C. Farm Museum on Monday, Nov. 2 allowed the volunteer-run facility to honour Ann Blaauw and former MLA Rich Coleman. (Mike Prangnell/B.C. Farm Museum)

A small gathering at the B.C. Farm Museum on Monday, Nov. 2 allowed the volunteer-run facility to honour Ann Blaauw and former MLA Rich Coleman. (Mike Prangnell/B.C. Farm Museum)

B.C. Farm Museum volunteers continue with improvements of the 54-year-old facility in Fort Langley, including better lighting. (Mike Prangnell/B.C. Farm Museum)

B.C. Farm Museum volunteers continue with improvements of the 54-year-old facility in Fort Langley, including better lighting. (Mike Prangnell/B.C. Farm Museum)

Just Posted

Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or in writing.
LETTER: Candidate in provincial election impresses Langley resident

A local resident wanted to send a shout-out for a candidate’s simple gesture

A small tree topped with a bow was standing out front of the vacant lot where the Alder Inn used to stand. It will be replaced with a much larger one, thanks to Langley Township councillors Bob Long and Petrina Arnason, who convinced a majority to approve a 27-foot tall tree at the Monday, Nov. 30, 2020 council meeting (Shirley Sawatsky/Aldergrove Star files)
27-foot-tall Christmas tree approved for former Alder Inn site

Township council funds 27-foot tree on lot where Aldergrove hotel once stood

Jackman Manor COVID-19 outbreak is over, the provincial health officer announced on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020 (file)
Outbreak at Jackman manor in Langley declared over

More than 400 new cases reported in region

Mirandy Tracy, left, and Tara Kurtz are two Langley mothers who are organizing a "sick out" for Tuesday, Dec. 1 to protest COVID conditions in schools. They're calling for masks and smaller class sizes, among other things. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Politician, labour leader throw support behind student Sick Out day

Langley parents started the movement to keep kids home on Dec. 1 as a protest

A family emerged with a purchase at the Tannenbaum Tree Farm at 5398 252 St in Aldergrove on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Christmas tree season is off to an early start, Aldergrove family farm reports

People are ‘bored’ with staying home due to COVID-19 and want to decorate early, farm owner believes

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A heavy police presence was on scene on Dec. 28, 2017 following the shooting death on Bates Road in Abbotsford of Alexander Blanarou, 24, of Surrey. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Three men charged with Abbotsford shooting death of Surrey man

Alexander Blanarou, 24, was killed in a rural area on Dec. 28, 2017

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A convoy of seven pickup trucks, six of which were hauling boats, makes its way around the Chilliwack Law Courts on Dec. 1, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
First court date for Fraser River anglers ticketed during demonstration fishery

Convoy of trucks circled the courthouse in downtown Chilliwack Tuesday honking their support

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Most Read