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'A true museum mystery': Public called upon to help identify historic photos

Some have speculated the pictures may have been taken in Japan.

The Royal BC Museum is asking people to take a peek at some historic black-and-white photographs that were donated anonymously.

The photos arrived in a box labelled “Brentwood Bay,” but no other information was provided. “We’re calling for community support to solve a true museum mystery!” the museum said on Twitter. “Do you recognize any of the people in these photographs? Do you recognize any of the structures or locations these photos were taken? Let us know if you can help crack the case!”

The museum believes the people in the photographs may be from Brentwood Bay.

The photos show men in jackets and ties and women in long dresses and Victorian high-collar blouses. A girl is wearing a velvet dress with a velvet bow in her hair. Other children are in white dresses with straw boater hats.

Comments so far on the Twitter thread suggest the photos could have been taken at Butchart Gardens.

“The photos are consistent with photos in the history section of the Butchart Gardens’ website,” says one post.

“I think this is the Japanese Garden at Butchart, designed by Isaburo Kishida from Yokohama between 1907 and 1912. The people could be the Butchart family,” writes another.

Others suggest the photos were taken in Japan.

The photos were unearthed as researchers at the museum were going through their archives as they prepare to move the vast majority of the collection to a new state-of-the-art facility in Colwood.

Anyone with information about the ­pictures can contact the museum at ­

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