A chest of treasures featured in the “What We Bring” exhibit at Surrey Museum.

‘What We Bring’ celebrates Surrey’s stories of immigration

Exhibit on display until Surrey Museum closes for expansion on July 30

CLOVERDALE — A new exhibit at Surrey Museum – or The Museum of Surrey, as it will be rebranded – will feature tables of sentimental items people have carried with them in their travels.

The Community Treasures collection, called What We Bring, is on display until the museum closes for expansion on July 30.

An exhibit-opening event on Sunday (May 28, noon to 4 p.m.) will include time for visitors to handle the objects and learn the stories of the people behind them. Also, ventriloquist Norma McKnight will share stories and entertain during the event, with performances at 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30 p.m.

What We Bring celebrates Surrey’s stories of immigration with a display of what people brought with them from their original homelands.

“Whether traveling by horse and cart, arriving on a ship with chests or flying on an airplane with a single suitcase, people had to choose precious few things to bring with them,” curators of the exhibit state. “The exhibit tells a story of human nature by displaying those choices.”

Included is a set of bird “stuffies” from New Zealand. When pressed, the sound of the actual bird can be heard. The story goes that the donor doesn’t let people press on the birds often, because he is worried the irreplaceable batteries sewn in will wear out.

“This story moved me,” said Colleen Sharpe, curator of exhibits. “It shows how memory is associated with all the senses. For this man, sound represents a piece of his home. I think this exhibit will encourage people to look within themselves and think about what they would bring if they moved away.”

The museum expansion project will add 12,000 square feet of space to the existing city-owned facility, which is currently 24,000 square feet in size and was built in 2005. The museum will be closed for construction from July 31 to September 2018.