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Museum of Surrey says new gallery will be a ‘robust response’ to needs of city communities

Museum’s permanent gallery about the history of the city set to change
The Museum of Surrey is asking for public input on how its new Surrey Stories Gallery will look after major renovations. (Artist’s rendering via

The Museum of Surrey plans to change its Surrey Stories Gallery.

The museum aims to remove the permanent gallery detailing the history of Surrey and replace it with a “robust response” that better suits the needs of the city’s communities, according to a museum spokesperson.

The museum is now seeking public feedback to help shape the plan of how the new permanent gallery will look.

“This exhibition will be a thoughtful and robust response to Surrey’s communities and their needs,” Athenas Angulo, communications coordinator for the Museum of Surrey, told the Cloverdale Reporter. “To tell the histories of Surrey, the gallery will be flexible and changing and will encapsulate a design that can be upgraded easily as needed.”

Angulo said change is needed to “prolong” the life of the gallery. “We expect it to be a signature gallery for many decades to come.”

The museum is currently seeking federal and provincial grants and soliciting sponsorship funding to help pay for the project.

The Surrey Stories Gallery holds memorabilia from the history of the growth of Surrey as a city.

As part of the museum’s process of change, they have come up with a “Surrey Stories Gallery Interpretive Master Plan,” which seems to still be in the draft phase. Now they want public feedback to help shape the plan of how the new permanent gallery will look.

Angulo said the initial version of the Interpretive Plan was put together by Aldrich Pears Associates through meetings the museum had with archives and other culture staff, members of various societies such as the Heritage Services Community Advisory Board, Friends of the Surrey Museum and Archives, Surrey Historical Society, and more.

“In addition, we had strong representation from Chief Harley Chappell of Semiahmoo First Nation.”

Angulo couldn’t say overall how many artifacts would be retained, but she said more artifacts will be available for the public to see because the museum will be rotating them in and out.

“The aim of the new gallery is to display more artifacts than we currently have, and in different ways, she noted. “This means that some objects may rotate out of the gallery and new ones from collections storage brought in.”

She said some “signature pieces,” like the 1917 Studebaker, will stay on permanent display.

SEE ALSO: Big changes could be coming to Museum of Surrey gallery

With 5 new sections listed for the gallery—1.) Ocean and Rivers, 2.) Gathering and Celebrating, 3.) Forests, Farms and Parklands, 4.) Urban and Industrial Centre, and 5.) Orientation to Surrey / Distinct Neighbourhoods—it looks like a complete transformation for the gallery is in the works.

“The overall theme, ‘What is Surrey,’ will be encapsulated by these five subthemes,” Angulo explained. “Interestingly enough these subthemes do not diverge heavily from what is already represented in the current Surrey Stories Gallery. Instead, it is the way these themes are interpreted and organized.”

She said there will be a big emphasis on getting community stories about these sections and making each area interactive as they rebuild the gallery. She added Surreyites will have the opportunity to contribute their experiences and share them with museum-goers.

She also noted the Community Treasures exhibitions will have a new designated space. Community Treasures exhibits run three times a year and showcase unique stories in the community.

SEE ALSO: New exhibit celebrates the history of the Surrey Little Theatre

SEE ALSO: New Vietnamese textile exhibit now open at the Museum of Surrey in Cloverdale

“The new Surrey Stories Gallery will be more standardized and flexible, enabling us to update technologies, add to current displays, and enrich the themes as people share their experiences of living in Surrey,” Angulo added.

The online survey can be found by visiting, clicking on “art and culture” from the menu bar, and then clicking on “Museum of Surrey.” From there, scroll down and click on “Take the Survey.”

The survey is open until March 3.

Malin Jordan

About the Author: Malin Jordan

Malin is the editor of the Cloverdale Reporter.
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