Police museum moves to Anvil Centre

The New Westminster police museum has left the building.

Artifacts documenting the history of the New Westminster Police Department, including the Harley Davidson motorcycle, can now be found on display as part of a permanent exhibit at the New Westminster Museum and Archives at Anvil Centre.

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The move was motivated, in part, by recent renovations to the police station’s lobby and because no one at the department had the time or necessary education to curate an exhibit on an ongoing basis. The move also means more people will have the opportunity to see the different artifacts in the police department’s collection.

So far only the motorcycle and a few other artifacts have been moved to the Anvil Centre space, Oana Capota, curator of the New Westminster Museum and Archives, told the Record.

“The museum collection that they (the police department) had has been transferred over here – it’s just physically not over here yet,” Capota said.

“We still have a little bit of construction work to finish up so it’s not a good idea to get all the stuff,” she added.

For the time being, the artifacts will remain in storage at the New Westminster police station until construction of its designated storage area is complete at Anvil Centre. Once it’s completed, the artifacts will be securely packed and moved to its new home. From there, staff at the museum will go through the artifacts, Capota said.

“For the police collection, once we get to know it, I’m really curious to see what temporary exhibits different parts of it could be part of,” she added. 

There are two temporary display spaces in the museum where different exhibits will be showcased in two to three times a year. Within the temporary exhibits is where Capota said she hopes to find a place for police department artifacts.

“If we do something on dogs, we could have a section on police dogs and so on,” she said.

There’s no timeline as to when the first artifacts will be incorporated into a temporary display. Capota said the process, from the time the museum receives the items to display, can often be a long one.

First the artifacts will need to be unpacked, which is a delicate process because most items are fragile and need to be handled with care. Then the curator will research the artifact’s history.

“It might actually tell a story, which is what we’re really looking for,” Capota said.

The New Westminster Museum is located at Anvil Centre, 777 Columbia St., and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Thursday, when the museum stays open until 8 p.m.

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