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Photos: Expo, Molly Ringwald. Coquitlam Heritage relives the 80s

Tonight, Coquitlam Heritage opens its retro show at Place des Arts to mark its 40th anniversary. On April 11, the society will throw a reception to launch its 80s exhibit at Mackin House Museum.

Pretty in Pink, neon leg warmers, Cabbage Patch Dolls and Expo 86.

Remember the 80s?

Mementos from the era — as well as before and beyond — can now be seen at Mackin House to recognize 40 years of the Coquitlam Heritage Society.

The anniversary exhibition, which coincides with a display that opened today, April 5, at the adjacent Place des Arts, aims to recognize the organization’s milestone by showcasing popular fare and souvenirs of local interest from the past four decades.

On Thursday, April 4, curator Markus Fahrner gave the Tri-City News a tour of the exhibition, titled Retro Reflections: A Nostalgic Journey Through 40 Years of Coquitlam Heritage, which will be up until Aug. 30 at the museum.

And he pointed out the many items taken from the society’s collection, as well as recent donations and new pieces, that are part of the celebratory event.

“We pulled so many interesting things out from our collection for this 80s and 90s overview,” Fahrner said.

“What we want to highlight is that things that we may have at home now will have a historical value tomorrow. It’s not just your grandfather’s stuff.”

Among the pieces on display in the teen’s room upstairs include posters of popular film and TV programs, and superstars like Madonna, Prince and Pamela Anderson (in her red bathing suit from Baywatch). Swag from Centennial Secondary and handwritten science homework from 1987 is also presented.

In the second bedroom is a look back at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics include the run torch carried by Olympian and former Coquitlam city councillor Chris Wilson while the third bedroom is redesigned as an 80s media room — complete with a walkman, ATARI console and a wall of mixed cassette tapes.

Fahrner also commissioned Indigenous artist James Groening, a Burnaby resident, to paint 80s-themed works.

Meanwhile, the top eastern room is a nod to Mackin House in the 2000s when it was a toy museum. Here, you can find Expo Ernie, a Cabbage Patch Kid dressed in a LA Dodgers uniform and a Shirley Temple doll from the early 20th century.

“It’s so interesting to see the evolution of toys with their materials from metal to plastic, and the positioning of gender roles,” Fahrner said, adding, “Sometimes, I can hear museum visitor recognizing an item and talking loudly about their experiences. The memories flood back because it creates connection.”

The opening reception for Coquitlam Heritage’s community exhibition at Place des Arts (1120 Brunette Ave.) starts at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 5; the show is up until May 23. The museum display at Mackin House (1116 Brunette Ave.) officially opens on Thursday, April 11, at 7 p.m. You can visit the facility’s website for more details and to donate materials to Coquitlam Heritage.