BC Museums Week 2023: Museums Change Lives
Stories of Museum Impact
May 14- 20, 2023 | #BCMW23
The Alberni Project, Bob’s Volunteer Story
Listen to how institutions across the province inspire learning and help foster community. In this story, hear Bob’s volunteer journey at the HMCS Alberni Museum to now Assistant Director with The Alberni Project Society.
Crys White, volunteer archivist at the Tumbler Ridge Museum
Crys White was on the board of the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation in 2014 when another board member mentioned that there was a lot of material that needed to be archived, and nobody to do it. Crys thought it would be fun, so volunteered her time. She started by taking a one week archiving course in Calgary, at her own expense, and then spent lots of time the first year sorting through all of the information. There was an overwhelming amount of paperwork and photographs stored in garbage bags and shoe boxes, all of it information documenting the history of Tumbler Ridge, donated to the museum for safe keeping.
After that first year, Crys has spent an average of 2 days each week, about 3 hours on each of those days, volunteering at the museum to get the archives organized. Although she isn’t on the museum’s board any more, she enjoys her volunteer work there. She concedes it would be good to have a professional archivist hired to make sure everything is documented correctly, but in the meantime she is happy to have things as organized possible.
Over the years Crys applied for grants for the museum and received enough funding for a computer and archiving software to store the information, archival materials such as boxes, shelves and a map cabinet, and carpet to cover the old floor. There are two rooms used for archives, the front room where the work is done and the back room where material is stored. Crys has had help from Irene Lekei, another volunteer who is one of the first residents of Tumbler Ridge, as well as from Brenda Holmlund, Larry White, Bob Norman and others.
There are about 20 fonds, or body or records, in the museum’s archives. A huge amount of information relates to the mining history of Tumbler Ridge, including about 10,000 photographs. There is information on what was happening in the Tumbler Ridge area before mining started, including some of the first explorers. Other files include the hospital foundation, copies of the local newspaper, the building of the town itself in the early 1980’s, and the various clubs in town such as the saddle club, figure skating club, minor hockey association, Grizzly Valley Days (a summer celebration), the Grizfest music festival, and the Wolverine Nordic and Mountain Society which is the local outdoors club. Most of these clubs held events for the whole community, and this information is stored in the archives.
Crys finds it very interesting to learn about the early days of Tumbler Ridge, how various clubs and organizations got started, and what they accomplished. She wants to remind the public that they are welcome to come by the museum and see what is stored in the archives. Maybe some longtime residents can help her identify people in historic photos!
Fernie Museum, Lori Bradish’s Volunteer Story
Listen to how institutions across the province inspire learning and help foster community. In this story, hear Lori’s volunteer journey at the Fernie Museum!