Take a journey through Shawnigan's storied past.
Established in 2002, the Shawnigan Lake School Museum offers a consummate visual representation of the history
of this beloved School. The Museum was the vision of former Shawnigan music and French teacher Lance Bean, who worked tirelessly on the project until his retirement in 2013.
Now housing more than 3,200 individual items, the Museum was brought to life by generous and thoughtful donations from alumni in combination with careful searches for authentic, historical items from antique stores, auction houses and flea markets across Vancouver Island. The Museum charts the evolution of the School, from its establishment in 1916 as a simple three-storey, ten-room wooden structure on 2.5 acres, to the greatly expanded co-educational boarding school it had become by the 1980s.
From house and sports paraphernalia to school photos, student correspondence and rooms that vibrantly recreate moments from the past, the Museum eloquently and imaginatively explores Shawnigan’s evolution and rich, personal history. Exhibits include a classroom from 1916 and one from the 1940s, C. W. Lonsdale’s study from 1927, a teacher’s study from the 1950s, dorm rooms from the 1920s and 1970s, and an art/photography studio from the 1960s. Central Shawnigan figures – including founder C. W. Lonsdale, teacher Mabel Lonsdale and nurse Eleanor “Stanty” Stanton – are also brought to life through alumni recollections and photographs.
In further tribute to Shawnigan alumni, the Museum includes a commemoration to those who served in WWII, including the 44 students and 1 staff member who gave their lives in active service.
The Museum isn’t simply a portal into a static past: it’s an exploration of the development of a progressive and dynamic community that has offered a home, education and myriad opportunities to countless Shawnigan students over the years. A must-visit for anyone with an interest in Shawnigan or in Canadian history, the Museum presents a goldmine of information, artifacts, and narratives, all of which combine to tell the rich and compelling story of Shawnigan Lake School.