The Art, Historical and Scientific Association of Vancouver

Founded 1894

Objects of the Association:
    To maintain and develop the Museum
    To preserve the early annals of British Columbia History
    To preserve examples of native indian arts and crafts

The Art & Historical Association was perhaps the first civic institution in Vancouver to have an art collection, and to make efforts to increase and improve that collection, either through purchase, or by way of donation from the public.

The Society was formally established in 1894, although it sprang from a loosely organized group known as the Art Association, formed in 1889. The Art Association from time to time discussed the expansion of their group to include Historical and Literary matters, and suggested using the name Art, Historical and Scientific Association (AHSAV) as early as 1892, before reorganizing under that name.

The early history of the AHSAV was described in the Association's publication "Museum Notes", in the June 1926 article titled "History of the Art, Historical and Scientific Association; Biographical - Founders and Members. This article touched on many of the people and events prior to 1900, but was not as inclusive, or as detailed regarding the earliest art activities in Vancouver, as the pamphlet issued in 1944 to mark the Golden Jubilee of the Vancouver Museum. That pamphlet's article titled "History of the Art, Historical and Scientific Association - "Vancouver's First Cultural Association", by Noel Robinson, provided much more additional and interesting material than the earlier article.

The first issue of Museum Notes was published in February, 1926, with a cover illustration by F. Noel Bursill. Additional information about Association publications was included in the Curator's Report in that issue:
      "A monthly "Journal" was issued throughout 1925, and a copy posted to each member, also to similar institutions and Libraries, and many letters of appreciation have been received. The whole matter has been in the hands of Mr. Denys Nelson and the Rev. J.C. Goodfellow, and both these gentlemen are to be congratulated on launching this record of the Association's activities. During the present year the Curator's report will be sent to all members, and also a printed booklet, entitled "Museum Notes," three times a year, in February, June, and October."

In 1928 "Museum Notes" was re-titled "Museum and Art Notes". The content of this pamphlet typically included such as articles as the Museum Curator's report, Lists of Members, Minutes of Annual Meetings, and various reports on activities of the Museum and its Committees. Articles on art also appeared, such as the short autobiographical article by Thomas Fripp in the February 1927 issue, and "First Art Organizations in Vancouver", September 1928. The pamplet ceased publication around 1931, partly due to the Depression, and the resulting lack of funds and members, although the Museum continued to issue occasional papers. "Museum and Art Notes" was revived again in September 1949, as a Second Series. Articles on art in that series included "Indian Native Art" by Mildred Valley Thornton, September 1949, and "The Fine Arts", by Philip Timms F.R.S.A., November 1951.

In 1928 sculptor Charles Marega donated a "sculptured replica in white marble of the death mask of Pauline Johnson" to the Association. (AHSAV fond, Vancouver City Archives)

In 1929 the Society purchased their first "Salon" painting, "Les Pauvres" by Mary Riter Hamilton. The Society published an article by Mrs. W. Garland Foster titled "Les Pauvres" and Its Artist" in the June 1929 issue of Museum and Art Notes. The article includes a brief history of the Society's collection and an "incomplete" list of pictures sold by Hamilton, and their owners.

In 1930 N. St. John Mildmay donated a framed watercolour to the Association titled "Hastings Street From the Post Office."

In 1932, the year after her husband's death, Mrs. Thomas Fripp donated two of Thomas Fripp's watercolours to the Association: "Deadman's Island From Brockton Point", dated 1925, and "Vanishing Vancouver", dated 1928.

(arbutus tree, Savary Island), Museum and Art Notes, March 1931


      March 1931; 42 pages, illustrated black and white
      Published by the Art, Historical and Scientific Association of Vancouver
      Includes article by R.S. Sherman on Savary Island
      Pen & ink illustration by Maud Rees Sherman on page 12.


"...have formed themselves into an Advisory Board of Fine Arts..."
           From "In The World of Art"
           Western Women's Weekly, June 5 1920

"Fine Art Advisory Board to the Vancouver Exhibition Association"
           From "Western Women's Weekly", July 29 1922

"The Art, Historical & Scientific Association, without doubt, were the pioneers and leaders for all that pertains to art and culture in the City of Vancouver."
           From "Curator's Report", T.P.O. Menzies
           Museum Notes Vol. I No. 1, February 1926

      "It was on April 17th, 1894, that the Art, Historical and Scientific Association held its first meeting, and of those who were instrumental in the formation of this Society none was more prominent than the late Mrs. H.A. Mellon."
      From "The City Art Gallery", by G.H. Lardner
      Museum and Art Notes, Vol. IV, No. 1. March 1929