Past President Doug Adams asked me to speak about the design details of the Montebello Museum project at the official opening July 9th. I must say that the Montebello Museum has been a career highlight for this small town curator. It has been an opportunity to work with a highly revered museum designer, Cuyler Page, without leaving home. Thank you to Cuyler for your hours and inspiration.
The project started in the archives. Thanks to the landscape photographs of Rex Lingford, Frank Duncan and Hector J. Perrier, we have a street façade that is representative of Salmon Arm between 1907 and 1914. 

Why this period? It was a time of rapid expansion. There were four realtors in town. Properties were being flipped. The Braydon and Johnston Mill was adding more workers to its shifts. The sound of carpenters hammering and sawing was constant. Settlers began arriving with car loads of effects from far away. They wrote letters home and more people came.   

Each of the “store” facades on the Montebello has been carefully designed. Cuyler Page lifted bracket patterns from the photographs and Wayne Webber, Bert Larmand, Doug Hlina, Patrick Shea and Brock Gerow created them. On a hot, sunny day just before the opening, Ted McTaggart installed the last of the brackets.
Each of the paint colours comes from two lines of heritage paints.  Where there was a living memory of the colours, it was replicated. Where no one remembered, I carefully compared images and thought about how a black and white camera might have interpreted the hue.

The cladding or siding was chosen based on what was on the original buildings. That included a remarkable discovery of tin on the Bedford Pharmacy and Demers Pool Hall. Then it was time to choose the stain for the doors and door knobs. No two contiguous doors are the same. No two knobs are at the same height. They are the visitor’s initial handshake or welcome and I did not want the building to look like all the locks had been installed on the same day by the same person, which they were.

The dioramas have been carefully designed inside and out. Miss Puff’s is complete. McGuire’s is close to completion.  My museum volunteers, Gary Owens, and Ted McTaggart have worked hard. There is a slide show of the construction and the design plan for each of the buildings taped to the store windows. We still have a lot to do! 
There’s a wonderful display in the new gallery, thanks to the Shuswap Association for Rowing and Paddling’s dragon boat restoration project and Brent Chudiak and his students. We’ve done such a lot of work! Thank you my community!

                                                                            Deborah Chapman, Curator

Special thanks to Sharon Adair who insisted I have a new dress to mark the opening on July 9th. She sewed the 1905 Afternoon Tea Dress using 9 yards of Swiss Dot cotton and 14 yards of lace. Who was I to argue? Every girl likes a new party dress and it fit to perfection.
Dress photo credit: Myrtle Kyllo