Ben Fast

Culture - Community - Museums - Travel

Category: Writing (page 1 of 5)

Letter Writing Week and Postcrossing Meet Up at the Royal BC Museum

What’s the best thing you’ve ever received through the mail?  A birthday card?  A postcard from a friend on vacation?  A Christmas present?  A love letter?  Phone bill?

Ok, so phone bills and flyers aren’t likely your favourite things about the postal system, but when something sent with love from across the globe or around the corner arrives in our mailbox we are filled with a great sense of joy and excitement!

Old Letter-1-004

An old postcard from…Germany? Can anyone read this?

In today’s digital age, we’ve turned to instant communication for every type of message.  Our quick hellos, heartfelt apologies, and even our tentative notes of affection have become cold, impersonal clicks and swipes, sent off without a second thought and denigrated to the same level as that phone bill payment, food pic or work email.  And worst of all, we’ve relegated hand-written communication to the realm of “snail mail.”  We’re at risk of losing handwriting skills and long-form letter writing all together!

Letter Writing Week

But never fear!  The Royal BC Museum is hosting a special Letter Writing Week from January 2-9, 2016 to encourage visitors to re-engage with the art of letter writing by sitting down and spending time composing a hand written letter.  Between 11am-2pm, venture up to the 3rd floor and find the letter writing station to join in.  Oh, and did I mention that the museum is open by donation that week as part of their Community Days?!

“The act of sitting down to write by hand is quite different from using a computer or smartphone. We want visitors to re-engage with this simpler activity, to promote literacy, communication and community.”

The Royal BC Museum is providing all the supplies you will need, including paper, pens, envelopes, dictionaries, tablets to look up addresses, and even postage!  You can bring your own materials if you want, the museum will send any letters or postcards written at the station (no late Christmas packages though!).

Send us your mail

Want to take part but can’t make it down to the museum in January?  Then send a letter or postcard to the museum and we’ll put it on display at the station!  Please don’t send anything after January 1 as it will arrive too late.  You can send mail to:

The Learning Department

c/o Royal BC Museum

675 Belleville St.

Victoria, BC

V8W 9W2


You can send anything you like (so long as it is appropriate for children to read).  What did you get for Christmas?  What are your New Years resolutions?  What’s the weather like outside?

Postcrossing Meet Up:

Are you a Postcrosser?  Do you want to be?  Postcrossers are members of the Postcrossing Project, an online community devoted to sending real postcards through the mail.  If you sign up, you can send (real) postcards to random people all around the world and then have other random people send you postcards back!  It’s like a pen pal network, except with different people each time.

Postcrossers host occasional meet ups where members get together and all sign postcards being sent out.  If you’re a member or are interested in learning more, stop by the Letter Writing Week station on Saturday, January 9 between 11-2 and we’ll have our very own Postcrossing Museum Meet Up!  I’m running the station that day, and I’ll bring some of my collection of postcards from around the world to show visitors as well as let people sign some cards to be sent out.

One of the coolest Postcrossing cards I’ve ever received: a scratch-to-play Minesweeper card sent to me by a stranger in Sweden! You can see where some of the top layer got scraped away during the journey.

BC Archives

The Royal BC Museum is also home to the BC Archives where many letters, diaries and notes from BC’s past are kept for future generations.  While you’re visiting the Letter Writing Week station, keep your eyes open for archival letters in the exhibits or on display.  Notice how handwriting has changed, how letters were composed, how people said hello.


We hope to see you down at the museum this January for Letter Writing Week!  You never know, maybe the letter you write will find its way into an archive someday!

Upon Entering Jersey: A Postcard Story

I’m posting this story here as a portfolio piece mainly for the “Travel Writing” #CultureTrav Twitter chat for July 30, 2015.  It’s a story I wrote for a travel writing class at UVic in the spring of 2014 reflecting on a day trip to Jersey with my mom and aunt in 2011 (I was working in Normandy at the time).  The requirements for the assignment included keeping it under 500 words and having more than one character in it (I think that was one of the requirements, I actually forget now…).  Hope you like it!

Note: Being a very literal guy, I took the postcard story to the next level by including a vintage postcard that I have in my personal collection of the actual St. Helier’s harbour where my story took place.

Pop-Up Museums: Potential for the RBCM?

In this paper from the Product and Market Innovations course taught by Rod Harris and Rose Nadon, I explored the possibility of the Royal BC Museum creating a travelling exhibit space (not just a travelling exhibit) in the form of a re-purposed shipping container.  This assignment focuses more heavily on the business scenario and planning surrounding this potential project and not the curatorial or exhibition components.  The paper provides a market analysis, competitive analysis, market segmentation and creative positioning strategy before examining relevant media vehicles and further considerations for such an endeavour.

Portfolio: Scenario Planning Document

The following paper is a sample from the Global Tourism course taught by Dr. Geoff Bird.  It is an example of the variety of projects we worked on in the MA in Tourism Management program.  Instead of just a standard research paper, this assignment had us explore either a scenario planning approach (what I did) or a critical success factors approach to global tourism trends and issues.  I chose to look at how military museums are navigating the ‘way ahead’ for their sector either in Canada or overseas.

Heritage and Cultural Tourism in Scotland

The following paper is a sample from D. Brian White’s Transforming Destinations course at Royal Roads University.  The course examines the social, economic, infrastructure, stakeholder and political aspects of a community and region relative to the interest in creating a sustainable tourism destination, often in the form of a Destination Management Organization (DMO) or community.

The final assignment examined how tourism destinations build competitive advantage and sustainable management.  I chose to examine destination development in Scotland’s heritage and cultural tourism field.

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