Hi! My name is Elise. Over the summer I have been working as a Children’s Book Illustrator at the NVMA, drafting illustrations for a new storybook, The Journey of Streetcar #153, which will be finished later this fall.
The book follows Streetcar #153, a real streetcar that carried people up and down Lonsdale until the 1940s, as it picks up passengers and travels around the North Shore. The reader meets various community members from the time, such as a female shipyard worker, a mountaineer, and a streetcar conductor, in addition to discovering many local landmarks as they were in the 1940s.
My role as an illustrator is to bring all of those things to life, in the hopes of really making a connection with children and sparking a curiosity for learning more about artifacts and their stories. The real Streetcar #153 is an artifact in the new Museum of North Vancouver.
In addition to searching the archives for photos of certain street corners and learning about the history of North Vancouver, my favourite part of the job is when I get to work with my supervisor, Carol Ballard to create each page design from scratch. It takes a lot of time and effort, but I know that my illustrations will help inspire kids to learn more about the Museum and engage with elders in their community for years to come. This, to me, is incredibly rewarding.
I first started working at the NVMA early this year through the work experience program at my old high school. I thought it could be a really cool opportunity to develop my art skills while making connections within the community, but I had no idea at the time what it would become.
When COVID-19 cases started rising in March, my work experience was cut short. However, when the opportunity came up to interview for a full-time summer position funded through the Young Canada Works program, I was overjoyed. Since then, I’ve had the best summer job I could hope for.
I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know and work with the incredible NVMA staff as they prepare for the opening of the new Lower Lonsdale museum, and through my work I’ve learned so many new stories about the origins of the city I grew up in. I know I will carry these stories, as well as the valuable skills and experience I’ve developed working at the NVMA, with me for the rest of my life – and I’m super excited to share my work with the community!
Watch for ‘The Journey of Streetcar #153’ written by Carol Ballard and illustrated by Elise Saatchi to be included in NVMA educational programs in late 2020.
We rely on contributions, monthly or one-time gifts, to help MONOVA safeguard and expand our community’s archival and museum collections, build learning experiences and inspire future generations.
Donations are accepted through the Friends of the North Vancouver Museum & Archives Society, Registered Charity No. 89031 1772 RR0001.
We respectfully acknowledge that MONOVA: Museum and Archives of North Vancouver is located on the traditional lands of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations, whose ancestors have lived here for countless generations. We are grateful for the opportunity to live, work and learn with them on unceded Coast Salish Territory.