Land of thundering Snow Exhibit: On-Line
“Living in the mountains, one is constantly reminded that we are living in avalanche country. This project brought to light that, throughout history, Canadians across the country have been impacted and the story of avalanches and snow science is one that affects all Canadians. I am overwhelmed by and grateful for the support we received on this project, and the enthusiasm of everyone involved. We now have a legacy of snow research and avalanche safety in Canada available to everyone.” (Cathy English, Curator, Revelstoke Museum and Archives)
At this time of year in particular skiers’ minds turn to thoughts of falling snow, crisp temperatures, and deep accumulations. Will we get snow this fall? Will we get snow this winter? Will “the blob” (of overheated water in the Pacific), and the “highly resistant ridge” (of high atmospheric pressure) ever dissipate or at least diminish and allow precipitation to fall here, preferably as snow, its most desirable form? Will there be enough snow locally to create any thundering avalanches? We’d prefer that weather conditions not encourage avalanches, but we’d like the snow to arrive. And just keep falling, as it did in the wonderful winter of 1996-97.
The Revelstoke Museum and Archives has launched an on-line exhibit of avalanche history and other information: available in English and French, the exhibit can be accessed at www.landofthunderingsnow.ca
Partners in creating the exhibit are Avalanche Canada, Okanagan College, Parks Canada, and the Revelstoke Railway Museum. The Avalanche Canada website, at http://www.avalanche.ca is a valuable resource with information including avalanche conditions, weather forecasts, and a history of avalanche events dating back to 1825.
In 2012, Revelstoke Museum and Archives received $235,000 through the Virtual Exhibits Investment Program of the Virtual Museum of Canada, initially managed by the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN) and now managed by the Canadian Museum of History, with the financial support of the Government of Canada, to create a virtual exhibit about the history of snow research and avalanche safety in Canada.
Retired Parks Canada biologist and naturalist Dr John Woods developed the content for Land of Thundering Snow, unveiling many previously unheard of stories connected to avalanches, and his first-hand knowledge of the history of Glacier National Park’s avalanche control program – the first of its kind in Canada – makes him an expert in the field. John painstakingly documented the country’s 870 avalanche-related deaths from the past 150 years that can be accessed on the site via an interactive map of Canada. The website also features more than one hour of video content and interviews with those involved in avalanche safety.
Earlier this year, Revelstoke Museum and Archives opened a physical hands-on avalanche exhibit to compliment Land of Thundering Snow. Community members celebrated the launch of both exhibits at a special event at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre, attracting more than 200 people to the event, which included dramatic avalanche footage, accounts of historic achievements, a moving tribute to those lost to avalanches, and interactive exhibits from partners.
So, until it snows — as we so want it to — we can explore this exhibit and fantasize about snow.