Surrey Museum gives it a whirl

The Surrey Museum hosts Wind Work, Wind Play: Weathervanes and Whirligigs, a breezy exhibit from the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Fiddler whirligig from Ontario

The wind-powered folk art of weathervanes and whirligigs is long overdue for celebration.

Wind Work, Wind Play: Weathervanes and Whirligigs, an exhibit from the Canadian Museum of Civilization, has flown into at the Surrey Museum, where more than 30 pieces of this functional and decorative folk art will be on display to Dec. 21.

It’s whimsical, fun, and all Canadian.

The hand-made works span more than a century from the 1870s to the 1970s, and range from arrows to whimsical http://raven.b-it.ca/portals/uploads/cloverdale/.DIR288/wwhirligigs_06.jpgdepictions of horses, fish and pigs rendered in wood, steel or wrought iron – all meant to do their work from atop a church spire, barn roof, or home.

Whirligigs are wind-driven lawn ornaments that move frenetically but don’t actually go anywhere, from sawyers sawing, and fiddlers fiddling to farmers milking cows and voyageurs paddling as fast as the wind.

[Horseman on Arrow whirligig, Nova Scotia, circa 1950. Photo courtesy Canadian Museum of Civilization]

The exhibit also showcases the mechanics and engineering in each piece.

Visitors can make their own whirligig – and find out how to predict the weather without consulting TV, radio, laptop or smartphone.

The museum is located at 17710 56A Avenue, Surrey. It’s open Tuesdays to Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Sundays, Mondays and statutory holidays. Admission is sponsored by Friends of the Surrey Museum. For more information, visit www.surrey.ca/heritage or call 604-5021-6463.

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