When adults visit a museum with children, there is a fine line to tread to keep everyone happy. Parents want to see; look at artifacts, read stories and descriptions. Kids on the other hand are doers; they want to touch and feel. The Vancouver Maritime Museum was able to satisfy both these needs.
It was a treat for me and my history buff husband to walk around looking at everything, totally entranced by the old pictures of Vancouver, the historical artifacts, reading stories about wrecks, George Vancouver, old CP boats and just generally drinking in overall importance of what we were seeing.
Our kids, on the other hand, were more interested in climbing into the hammock in the mockup of the crew’s quarters, raising the Jolly Roger in the pirates section, playing with the switches in the tugboat (a full-size replica of the wheelhouse of the tugboat Seaspan Queen), ringing the ships bells and turning on the search lights. The Children’s Maritime Discovery Centre was a great hit because they were able to try out a diving helmet, drive a sub, try on costumes and do puzzles. They even stopped exploring long enough to listen while we explained why George Vancouver’s Chronometer was such an important artifact.
I have a soft spot for mid-century architecture so I loved looking at the rafters of the A frame building enclosing the St. Roch, an RCMP ship that was the first vessel to sail the Northwest Passage from west to east. The St. Roch was bought by the city of Vancouver after its retirement and brought to its current location in 1958 but the A frame structure enclosing it was built some years later. Exploring the ship was another great treat for all 4 of us as we climbed the ladder into the wheelhouse, explored the narrow confines of the officers’ quarters and then descended in to the cramped crew bunks. I swear I could feel the boat sway a bit as we climbed up to the bow to take a closer look at the bronze statue. I cannot imagine being a-sea in the arctic for weeks on end!
The Vancouver Maritime Museum, apart from being an important part of our history, was a pleasant surprise and a lovely way to spend the afternoon. We really enjoyed it and so did the kids. Definitely a winner!
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