Never mind money; the gifts of time and skill call into being the richest marketplace in the world. – Maeve Binchy

With Giving Tuesday coming up, we’ve been thinking with gratitude about all the ways we receive (and depend on) support from the community. Time, talent and treasure are the three pillars of giving. Today, let’s look at time.

We are extremely fortunate at the VMM to have a dedicated community of volunteers. From helping with school programs to cataloguing material in the collections to transcribing, their contributions help keep the museum going. In 2019 our volunteers put in over 3000 hours. It can’t be overstated that they are vital to the VMM.

The same must be said of the board of trustees who last year dedicated 800 hours to helping the museum develop strategies. They also contribute in many other ways, particularly this year. As you know, the museum closed its doors to the public for nearly three months this year in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. While the doors were closed, we looked for ways to continue to serve our community, and we decided to try a virtual event. Board member Robert Allan stepped in to lend a hand by giving our first interactive virtual presentation. His talk, A Century of Shipbuilding in Vancouver, covered the history of Robert Allan Ltd. The event was a huge success, and it launched a series of virtual events that we are still running.

We couldn’t run this series without the generous gifts of time we’ve received.

Inuvialuk elder and author Margaret-Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton donated time on her birthday to participate in a virtual event for kids. She was joined by Fatty Legs co-author Christy Jordan-Fenton for a morning of stories about life in a northern residential school.

Ron Holland of Ron Holland Design gave a fascinating talk on a journey he made through the Northwest Passage. Ron gave his talk from the deck of the St. Roch, which was fun for all.

We partnered with the Port of Vancouver to host Captain Mike Armstrong who generously donated time to educate viewers on marine pilots. Dan “The History Guy” Buchanan gave a lively virtual book talk on the Wreck of HMS Speedy – a schooner that sunk in Lake Ontario in 1804.

Board member (and avid diver) Tom Beasley gave two presentations, one about sea otter exploitation and one about the Tonquin, a ship involved in the sea otter fur trade that sunk somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. Children’s Author Karen Autio and illustrator Emma Pedersen talked about their book Kah-Lan and the Stink-Ink for almost 300 students and teachers.

John MacFarlane, maritime historian and curator of The Nauticapedia talked about Captain John Voss and the voyage of the Tillikum, a Nuh-chah-nulth dugout canoe – an important story that more British Columbians should know.

Marine artist and recipient of the Order of British Columbia, John Horton, gave a visually stunning presentation on his work and life. Last week Canada’s foremost popular historian, Mark Zuehlke talked about the liberation of the Netherlands.

Next week, cellular biologist Lynne Quarmby will talk about a life-changing trip she made to the Arctic and about her book Watermelon Snow. And in December author Bill Arnott will talk about his book Gone Viking.

2020 has been a tough year for all of us, and these people made it a better year for many by giving the precious gift of time. They gave the VMM a wonderful way to connect with our community and they inspired and educated audiences of all ages. We’re so pleased they chose to spend their time with us.

Got some time to spare? Sign up for one of our upcoming virtual events to learn why we’re so grateful. If you don’t have time, but you still want to contribute to our community, we accept monetary donations too. For any donation over $25, we issue tax receipts.