Neighbourhoods are used by the Maple Ridge Museum & Community Archives to collect and organize material.
So it's a natural fit for the museum to focus on neighbourhoods throughout 2013 - this year's theme for Heritage BC.
The museum will have displays at the Maple Ridge Library throughout the month of February about the neighbourhoods, and focus on these historic areas at community events throughout the year.
At the library, there are artifacts from all nine original neighbourhoods in the District of Maple Ridge - Haney, Hammond, Yennadon, Webster's Corners, Ridge, Albion, Ruskin, Whonnock, and Allco.
There's also background information about the area and a map to show precisely the boundaries of the neighbourhood - something that people aren't always sure about, said Allison White, curator of the museum.
"The centres are indisputable," said museum director Val Patenaude, but, she added, the boundaries are often a subject of controversy.
But residents of Maple Ridge identify strongly with their neighbourhoods and get quite upset if museum staff mix them up, White explained.
The exhibits don't just include information about neighbourhoods, but museum staff have focused on some of the prominent families that resided in them.
For example, the museum is displaying some brooches and necklaces that belonged to Isabel Irving, the wife of James Sinclair, who was the first school teacher in Haney. The family made their home at 3rd Avenue (currently Laity Street) and River Road.
The museum has also placed a collection of egg cups in the library showcases, donated by long-time Haney resident and heritage society member Beryl Cunningham.
Other interesting artifacts include a trench grenade that was made in memory of a horse that died during the First World War. The horse, Carrington, belonged to Andre Marc whose family lived on a 175acre homestead in Yennadon, now part of the UBC research forest.
From the Whonnock area, there will be a Japanese container that came from the Byrnes family. Neighbourhoods are being celebrated in 2013 throughout the province of British Columbia, and this theme fits in well for Maple Ridge with its distinct heritage neighbourhoods.
White said when a new museum is built, it will be organized according to these historic neighbourhoods.
The museum will continue to focus on neighbourhoods throughout the year, for example, History goes to Market events at the Haney Farmers Market on May 25 and Sept. 21, there will be information about the neighbourhoods as well as at the Heritage Tea on April 6.
The museum is also trying to involve current community and neighbourhood associations while promoting the history of these areas.
The Maple Ridge Museum is open on Wednesday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m., and Haney House at 11612 224th St. is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. (These hours are valid until the end of June.)