A few weeks ago, a local long-timer and part-time Museum volunteer walked into my office. His neighbour, another long-time resident, had put his family’s farm property up for sale and was now facing an all-too-common problem: what to do with all the stuff that had accumulated over the decades? My visitor had suggested donating some or all of it to the Museum, and was now inquiring of me whether we would be interested in it.
The major issue for us – for any community museum, really, that’s short on space and long on towns full of long-time residents who are trying to downsize – is figuring out where on earth we can put newly-acquired artifacts. The bigger the artifact, of course, the bigger the challenge. So I told him I would give it some thought.
Well, I made the “really brilliant decision” to discuss it with a few other volunteers to get their feedback. And the response, upon being told that one of the items on offer was a 1947 Maple Leaf truck, was ” Oooh! Get that!” In fact, he nearly drove off the road, he was so excited at this prospect.
So, space issues aside and after one short trek up a mountain to check out the truck and a few of the other objects , we said we could and would accept the offer of the truck, as well as a McCormick-Dearing crawler tractor. We passed on a couple of orchard sprayers: we have three or four of those already; these ones were in pretty bad shape; and, because they do not match any of the ones already in our collection, we could not even use them for restoration parts.
The next challenge was to get these treasures out of the bush, where they had been parked for the past 40-odd years. They say a picture is worth a thousand words; well, we created a whole video to show you how we managed that.
The truck is at our volunteer mechanic’s shop right now, getting a power-washing and a mechanical assessment. We’ll decide, based on what we find, whether to restore it to running condition or just bring it up to the Museum and put it on display. The McCormick-Dearing, though, is already at the Museum (greeting people in the parking lot, in fact): the exhaust had been left open while it was parked, so the engine is in probably-beyond-our-restoration-ability-and-resources condition.
The owner and donor, Lloyd Bell, is going to provide us with more details about both objects, which belonged to his uncle and father Sid and Od Bell. We’ll keep you posted on those details, as well as any development on the truck!