The restoration of an old gas pump has generated its share of controversy in Summerland.
Many hours of work went into restoring the pump, which is now on display at the Summerland Museum.
But some details about the pump’s connection to the community are not known.
It was used at a gas station in Summerland’s Lowertown, but there were at least five fuel stations in that part of the community in the 1920s.
Later, from 1948 to 1961, it was used at the cannery and packing house in Lowertown.
It was taken to the museum in 1993.
While the pump is old and while it was used in Summerland, the question to be considered is whether it belongs in the museum.
The Summerland Museum has a comprehensive collection of information, photographs and artifacts chronicling the community’s history. For those interested in exploring Summerland’s past, the museum has valuable resources.
But it does not and should not contain everything ever used in Summerland. Some items do not have enough of a connection to our past to be stored in our museum.
Bowser, the company which made the pump, was based in the United States, although this pump was manufactured in Toronto.
In the 1920s and 1930s, many pumps much like this one could be found as fuel stations across Canada and the United States.
Is this pump important enough to Summerland’s history to be included in the museum’s collection?
People in the community certainly seem to think so. When a decision was made earlier to remove the pump from its inventory, Summerlanders spoke out and as a result, the decision was made to keep and restore the pump.
Now that the decision has been made to keep the restored gas pump, another equally important question must be asked.
What parameters should be set for future acquisitions?
The controversy surrounding the gas pump should not be repeated with another item in the future.
— Black Press
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