International students help promote local history at Trethewey House

Trethewey houseOn Friday, June 3, 2011, a group of UFV international students visited the Trethewey House Heritage Site, located near Mill Lake in Abbotsford. The group has volunteered to translate Trethewey House’s display information binders in more than a dozen languages, including Arabic, French, Spanish, Indonesian, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Urdu, Korean, Punjabi, German, Hindi, Russian, Japanese, and more.Run by the MSA Museum Society, Trethewey House was built in 1920 by B.C. timber baron J.O. Trethewey and declared a heritage site in 1983. The house has been restored to circa 1925 and furnished through donations from the community. An important historical resource, the house features many artefacts from the era, including original electric light fixtures, library bookcases with leaded glass doors, an original old-fashioned bathtub, and an assortment of period toys, tools, and clothing.

“The displays at Trethewey House enable our international students to experience history hands-on and see what it was like to live here at the turn of the twentieth century,” says Michelle Rickaby, Volunteer to Work coordinator.

Trethewey House’s information binders are on display for guests to read as they tour the heritage home. They provide details about each room in the house and contain many historical facts of interest. Students will work in teams to translate the materials. “Team members can help each other if they don’t understand a word or if they are not sure of the correct translation,” says Rickaby.

“This is exactly the type of work that we would never be able to do if we didn’t have volunteers step up and help out,” says Christina Reid, Trethewey House’s collections manager. “We get visitors from all walks of life, so it is nice for us to have volunteers that come from many different cultures and cover many languages and age groups.”

Translated display binders will be available in August for guests who visit the site. “It’s neat that our students can help make this information more accessible to other people from their own language or culture,” Rickaby enthuses. “The translated materials, will enable visitors from many countries to better understand the history of Trethewey House and its importance to the community.”

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