What have locals worn for work historically on the North Island? Port Hardy Museum’s curator Jane Hutton answers that question for North Island residents. She collected workwear to display in the museum’s newest exhibit, which will run from November to March of next year.
“I did find some things we already had in the collection, like padded buckers pants,” she said. “They got that padded bit over the thigh, so you don’t saw your leg off.” Those types of pants were typically used in the logging industry. “We got several really nice Stanfields. They’re hard-working shirts,” which is another piece of workwear typical to the industry. She received a jacket with a logo of MacMillan Bloedel, while they still had a logging outfit in the North Island.
She also made note of a few cork boots, which are on display in the case. Cork boots are often rugged footwear that is also used in the timber and logging trade, but also usable in construction, welding, and mechanic-work.
She also mentioned she received some other jackets with logos on the front. One logo was of Island Copper, a company which ran the copper mine in the North Island for a number of years from around 1971 until the mid-1990s.
There were also used coveralls, which were loaned by a local resident who was involved in crabbing, Hutton noted.
Hutton was able to obtain two, homemade office wear from what Hutton believes is from the 1970s. “Those are beautifully crafted, homemade. Beautifully done. All lined inside and professionally done by a home sower.”
“Some have seen really hard work,” she mentioned of a few of the workwear pieces.
In the display case, there was a “metal mesh glove worn by people who work with geoducks, shucking geoducks.” Geoducks are typically large, edible saltwater clams, which are found on the west coasts of the country.
There was protective eyewear and what Hutton calls “gauntlets” which protect a lot of the forearm. She noted the gloves might be typical to welders. Finally, the new exhibit displays protective hat wear as well.
Hutton encouraged residents to visit the museum to view the new exhibit and to also learn more about local workwear used in North Island’s industries.