Many Voices Project
20 Feb

Many Voices Project

Burnaby Village Museum is documenting the diverse lives of people connected to Burnaby.

The Museum is focusing on stories from people and communities who haven’t had the opportunity to add to the historical record. This may include cultural minorities, people of colour, and sexually and gender diverse people.

How do I know whether or not my story is important enough to be recorded?

We think anyone who has a meaningful and personal connection to Burnaby has an important story. We are capturing stories of all areas of life in Burnaby including school, work, recreational activities, social events, family activities, and more.

To date, we do have more personal accounts and historical information about people with British or European backgrounds; therefore, we’d like to continue to diversify our collections by interviewing cultural minorities, people of colour, and sexually and gender diverse people – however all are welcome! 

What is the Museum going to do with the recorded interviews?

The Museum is a big organization and offers many ways to connect and learn. We have a heritage village and carousel, but we also run school programs, summer camps, and unique public programs for people of all ages and backgrounds. We also manage a large collection of 50,000 historical artifacts, and diverse archival materials – many of which are on display in the Village. However, 60% of our collection is stored in our secure vault, and made accessible online via our website We are always collecting and refining our holdings, and taking new donations that help us tell the story of Burnaby’s history. These oral histories will become a part of this growing archival collection.

The information contained in these interviews is invaluable. Our researchers who work on new exhibition content and educational programs draw heavily on these historical records to help tell stories. We use the information to write text and shape how stories are told.

Why is the Museum collecting history via interview?

For many reasons!

  1. Oral history interviews are a rich and textured way to capture history. Voice recordings capture more personality, details, and subtleties that the written word can’t.
  2. We are also open and eager to conduct interviews with people speaking in their first language if it is other than English.
  3. Many people don’t have more than an hour or two to devote to the Museum, and we completely understand that. An interview captures a tremendous amount of information in a relatively short period of time.

What is Heritage Burnaby and why is the interview going online?

Heritage Burnaby is the City’s searchable database for all things history. We hold community assets, heritage services and historic collections and add new holdings on a daily basis! Please have a look at our collections.

We add our interviews to Heritage Burnaby to make our research efforts beneficial to more people. Many researchers – genealogists, reporters, university professors and museum professionals – access our records regularly. Through Heritage Burnaby, this work benefits many more people than those who work at the Museum. 

I have important historical information I’d like to share, but I don’t want to be interviewed. What are my options?

Sometimes sitting down for an interview can be intimidating – especially if you haven’t done something like this before. The Museum is always collecting artifacts, original photographs, documents and ephemera related to life Burnaby. Consider looking at your collections and family items, and making a donation to the Museum. We aim to preserve our collections in perpetuity so that people many generations from now can see what life was like in Burnaby.

We also have options for those who would like to be interviewed but would prefer to use a pseudonym, or have their recording released at a later time in the future.

What do I do if I or my friends and family would like to contribute their story to the Museum?

If you or anyone you know would like to share stories with the Museum, or have more questions about the project, contact Kate Petrusa, Assistant Curator at 604-297-4559 or

Is there a way I can gather more information?

Yes. Please use and get familiar with Heritage Burnaby, and our oral history collections in particular. 

Come to the Museum, see our site, and meet the team conducting the interviews! Feel free to bring family and friends! For more details, and times, please register with Kate Petrusa, Assistant Curator at 604-297-4559 or

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