Westbank Museum trapper cabin to recognize Fur Brigade Trail significance

The Westbank Museum's newest attraction will display how the fur trade impacted the area 200 years ago.

Westbank Museum summer students Anastasia Fox (left) and Caitlin Pomietlarz stand inside the partially built trapper cabin at the museum.

Westbank Museum summer students Anastasia Fox (left) and Caitlin Pomietlarz stand inside the partially built trapper cabin at the museum.

Two hundred years ago, the fur trade impacted the way of life in the area that is now known as West Kelowna.

It’s a piece of history that hasn’t been forgotten by the Westbank Museum; their newest attraction will focus on telling the story of the Okanagan Fur Brigade Trail.

Construction is underway on the new exhibit: A trapper cabin located beside the museum.

The cabin was recently donated to the museum and it will aim to help stir visitors’ imaginations as they are educated on the fur trade.

“It’s a part of Westbank’s roots that we’re really pleased to display for people,” said museum president, Margaret Jackson.

Jackson added the cabin is a work-in-progress, but the entire project should be complete by the winter.

“Right now our focus is getting the roof finished so we can enclose that. We’ve got doors and windows that need to be custom made (as well).”

Jackson said although the exhibit will not be completely finished, it will still be showed off at two upcoming events.

This Saturday the Westbank Museum will celebrate the first anniversary in its new location. On Aug. 30, the museum will host a Fur Brigade Trail celebration breakfast for a group of 120 visitors from Oregon.

Katharine Welsh, planner and designer for the museum, said museum staff is focused on making the trapper cabin look as authentic as possible.

“We’re looking for items that anybody in the community (might) have. Animal traps, fur, furniture, anything that relates to that era—we would greatly appreciate that,” said Welsh.

“Right now we’re trying to put together items that we have, but we’re very open to donations of items or artifacts.”

West Kelowna council unanimously authorized a commercial development permit Tuesday to allow the museum to add the cabin, as well as a covered storage area, to its property.

“I see this cabin as kind of neat,” said Coun. Gord Milsom.

“The Fur Brigade (Trail) is a big part of the history of the Central Okanagan; I think it’s unique to have this cabin there and I figure it will make the museum even better.”

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com

Kelowna Capital News