With two months of open doors the new MONOVA Museum of North Vancouver is a great place to spend an afternoon learning about Lynn Valley and North Vancouver’s diverse history. More than 20 years in the making the new facility highlights the connection, passion for place, and the industry and enterprise of our community.
The brand new museum is packed with information and interactive displays. The experience begins with an exploration of a genuine North Vancouver streetcar, before entering the flex space where presentations and education sessions are offered throughout visiting hours. Soon, MONOVA will also have an Indigenous planting garden on its terrace. From this central space, visitors have two options – visit the rotating feature room (estimated opening April) or walk through an atmospheric trailhead to the permanent gallery.
“The museum and archives were founded in 1972,” said Stephen Irving, marketing and communications specialist for the museum. “About 20 years ago the agreement was forged that the District would provide space for the Archives and the City would provide the museum. The District delivered the archives building in 2006 and here we are 15 years later with the museum.”
Following the tradition of extensive online access already in place for the archives, the museum has also just launched a series of virtual experiences.
“There are nine videos that can be explored at home in an armchair or you can come in and use them as a guide,” said Irving. “This is a lesson from the pandemic. We want to be prepared and have offerings for a contactless visitor experience.”
Through an online virtual reality platform, visitors will enjoy exploring The Stories of Belonging on the North Shore through dramatic monologues, storytelling, songs, and supported with images and artifacts from the collections.
The most recent innovation at MONOVA starts next weekend: sensory-friendly mornings. For people and families of all ages who are neurodiverse, the museum offers a calmer, quieter experience and respite spaces. Staff have recently undergone training with Canucks Autism Network to support this initiative. Upcoming dates include Feb. 20, March 20, April 17, and May 15.
At the centre of the main gallery is an Indigenous welcome circle. The intimate space will be perfect for discussions and small-group learning opportunities, said Irving. The entire project was done with guidance and support of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, said Irving.
The museum has three key themes that guide the gallery celebrating connection, passion for place, and industry and enterprise. Each of the unique neighbourhoods and communities of the North Shore has representation. The permanent space has kid-zones on either end, but with flaps to open and drawers to explore there are hidden delights for kids to explore throughout the gallery (sure to delight: animal diets both the native plants and resulting scat).
To learn more about Lynn Valley on your visit try to discover the answers to these questions:
- Before it was known as Lynn Valley, this community of loggers and shingle makers was known by what name?
- Which Group of Seven artist briefly called Lynn Valley home?
- Which North Shore pioneer described himself as “…a sort of way-faring scribe, fascinated by the historical past and a lover of Nature’s handiwork in geology, botany and varied subjects?”
- Which Lynn Valley icon was inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 2015?
If you aren’t quite ready to visit the museum in person but would like to learn more about Lynn Valley, MONOVA has created a unique family Geocaching experience starting at the Archives building beside Lynn Valley Elementary. For details scroll to the bottom of MONOVA’s events page
How to visit
MONOVA is located in the Shipyards neighbourhood and is open Thursday – Sunday: 11 am-5 pm at 115 West Esplanade.