Vintage movie screenings at Kaatza Station Museum

Kaatza Station Museum and Archives will be showing a conglomerate of vintage movies from the 1930s and 1940s as a fundraising effort

Ed Portlance

Ed Portlance

On Friday June 22, and Saturday June 23, the Kaatza Station Museum and Archives will be showing a conglomerate of vintage movies from the 1930s and 1940s as a fundraising effort for the museum.

The movies will be shown in the Bell Tower building on the museum’s property. The Friday showing will be held at 7 p.m., and the Saturday showing will be a matinee and will begin at 1 p.m. Popcorn will be served to munch on while viewing the films.

The movies are actually advertisements or promotional material for the fishing and forest industries, and Cecil Ashley, who began working at Hillcrest Lumber Company in 1959 and who has had these movies in his possession for the past 25 years, feels that this showing is a good way to give back to the community and to the museum itself.

Ashley says he came across the movies when a friend, who had bought out Heaps Machinery, and Ashley were going through some old filing cabinets that had been left in the building. The movies were put onto video, and Ashley was given a copy to hold onto.

Each mini movie is 10 minutes each, but they have all been compiled to create one two hour film. Some of them are in colour, including one from the Queen Charlottes (now Haida Gwaii) during the 1940s and depicts lumber being milled for the construction of mosquito bombers used in WWII, but most are black and white. Most of the films are silent, while some have voice over.

Ashley has shown the movies on Gabriola Island, also as a fundraiser, and through that effort was able to attract 100 people and raise over $1,000 for the Gabriola Historical and Museum Society. “I thought, why not show them in Lake Cowichan, it’s more of a logging community. These people have more of a basic idea of the industry and many of them have worked on these machines.”

Simkins says this showing is a first of its kind for the museum. She has shown films from the museum’s collection to museum members and twice a year they invite local seniors and host a special tea at which these archived films are also shown, but rarely do they have an opportunity to show films that are not in the museum’s collections and to the general public.

Simkin has not yet seen the films and says she is “excited to see something new.”

For more information on the event, go to kaatzamuseum.ca, or phone 250-749-6142.