The Rossland Museum & Discovery Centre (RMDC) has been working away on developing a Conceptual Exhibition & Interpretation Plan for the Renewal Project Phase II: Mine Experience. This process has been guided by the Museum Experience sub-committee of the Rossland Museum Development Committee, which was tasked with overseeing the museum’s Renewal Plan process that officially began in 2012.
Beginning in the fall of 2020, the RMDC hired Double Dare Design to tackle this interpretive and exhibition planning step of the Renewal Project Phase II. The Museum Experience committee and RMDC staff have been working with a passionate team of professionals, including Melanie Greenaway and Marjolaine Brabander of Double Dare, Noelle Chorney of Tall Order Communications, and fellow Rosslander Chad McCallum of One by One Design Co. Joelle Hodgins, Museum Director, said “Every step of the way has been so exciting, and we can’t wait to have more space and interactive and engaging components in order to showcase Rossland’s incredible history with room to change out objects and details as our research efforts and community engagement continues.”
The RMDC and Double Dare had originally planned for many in-person meetings, tours of the site, stakeholder creative workshops, and community engagement sessions, but they were only able to host the on-site tour of the property before the team had to move the planning process entirely online due to COVID-19 public health orders. With community stakeholders tuning in from as far away as New Zealand as well as across Canada, RMDC was still able to include many subject matter experts as well as critical insights from the RMDC’s new Roger Terhune Geology Club.
Six key messages were developed to guide the planning process and ensure that all topics of significance to Rossland would be addressed in the updated exhibits:
- The unique geological context of Rossland and area, both above ground and below, influenced its development and ensures its continued existence today.
- Rossland sits within the unceded təmxʷúlaʔxʷ (homeland) of the Sinixt people. RMDC is committed to reconciliation with the Sinixt Nation and is actively working with Sinixt representatives to accurately share their story.
- Settler history in the area began in earnest with the discovery of gold. In the beginning, mining was the primary industry and the reason the “Golden City” of Rossland was founded.
- Industry in the area brought people from many nations to the community, bringing many perspectives and prompting many innovations and “firsts.”
- Because of its isolated location, Rossland was and continues to be a self-sustaining community with strong community spirit.
- The Rossland mines have since closed, and the community has transitioned into a recreation and culture hub that takes pride in its history.
Melanie Greenaway, Principal of Double Dare Design, said “Working with the fabulous staff of the Rossland Museum & Discovery Centre has been really exciting. They are committed to making a contemporary museum that addresses settler histories and industrial heritage in a respectful, inclusive manner. The future mine experience will be unlike anything in the region. It will blend hands-on, interactive experiences with historical artifacts and immersive environments for an unforgettable multi-sensory adventure.”
In the new Conceptual Exhibition & Interpretation Plan, the public can explore six main exhibition concepts to get a better idea of what to expect in a renewed Rossland Museum & Discovery Centre as well as a few preliminary sketches for other areas, including the Hunter Brothers Store and Cabinet of Curiosity collection station. The six main areas include the new Mine Experience entrance, interior tunnel example, a new assay office/geology display, a community celebrations wall, a heritage exhibit area, and a lifestyle exhibit area. The exhibits will expand on a number of key stories while also making room for lesser-known or underrepresented histories.
Rossland’s history as well as the Rossland Museum’s extensive collection is so wide-ranging that the RMDC team has always known there would need to be flexible use of space and regular updates just to include everything! As well, the RMDC team has been actively working with the Autonomous Sinixt to respectfully and responsibly represent the history of the Sinixt, on whose təmxʷúlaʔxʷ the Museum stands. The Sinixt story has been underrepresented since the Museum was developed, and we seek to right this wrong in partnership with the Sinixt as we work towards reconciliation. Ms. Hodgins added, “We are really looking forward to this growing relationship and supporting the Autonomous Sinixt as much as we are able and where they need us.”
The RMDC Museum Experience Sub-Committee and the Staff team along with the Phase II consultants are so excited to share the full conceptual interpretive & exhibition plan with everyone here:
The next steps for the project include finalizing the architectural designs with Meiklejohn Architectural Design Studio while the RMDC actively fundraises for the $2.4 M project. This planning process has been made possible with grants from Columbia Basin Trust and the GOvernment of Canada Cultural Spaces program and the generous donations from Teck Trail Operations and community members during RMDC fundraising events. The RMDC thanks everyone for their support to date, and the project team really hopes to host some community engagement sessions this summer to share the exciting work completed to date and seek more community input and feedback.
About the Rossland Museum & Discovery Centre
The Rossland Museum & Discovery Centre aims to preserve and dynamically present the heritage of Rossland and area. We are the visitor gateway to the Kootenays and the Columbia Basin, and we inspire and engage the public through virtual and real-life displays that bring our history to life.
The Rossland Museum & Discovery Centre acknowledges that we live and work on unceded Sinixt təmxʷúlaʔxʷ (homeland).