The Hugh Keenleyside Dam near Castlegar was one of three built as part of the Columbia River Treaty. It has had a huge impact on the Columbia River valley all the way to Revelstoke. Photo: Contributed

COLUMN: Nakusp museum is a living time machine

Preserving our history is vital


Special to the News

We would like to introduce you to some of the museum’s history and its role in present-day Nakusp in light of this year being the 50th anniversary and renegotiation year for the Columbia River Treaty.

In the late 1960’s, the land clearing for the Hugh Keenleyside Dam was ramping up to a fever pitch. In the hustle and bustle, hardly a thought was spared for the old, abandoned, or outmoded machinery of farm and home. As properties burned and belongings were moved—as lives were forced to change—it was easy to forget the past in the face of the quickly-changing present. The history of Nakusp and the rest of the valley was in danger of being swept away.

But a BC Hydro employee, Doreen Desrochers, noticed. It would be a shame for all this history to be lost, she thought—perhaps it could be gathered, put into a museum? The Kinettes Club of Nakusp were contacted, and they set to collecting as much as they could. Efforts were lead by Doreen Desrochers and Rosemarie Johnson. The Village Council allowed the museum to be housed in the basement of their centennial building, where it remains to this day.

Following their efforts to start the museum various groups and individuals have volunteered their time and effort to keep it going.

The museum has arrived at its present state only with your help. Running a museum does not garner enough admission to cover costs, even at peak tourist season. Donations from townspeople, memberships, fundraising drives, grant money keep our doors open. Our volunteers are wonderful help, but it’s not feasible to try and get people to volunteer for 35 hours a week. We rely on you to provide us with the funding to preserve and showcase our history.

Our museum houses artifacts from over a hundred years ago, and from all around the area—from Trout Lake and Galena Bay, Edgewood to Rosebery. It might be easy to take local history for granted, but that’s the heart of the matter — it’s easy to forget. Without the archives, names and people would be lost in time. Without the museum, we wouldn’t have concrete physical examples of the ways of the past, to point to for everyone to easily understand. Written history is a great source, but kids and adults alike aren’t often given to reading multiple pages of history unprompted. What your museum provides is an eyecatch, a gateway; tell children about a paddlewheeler, they might not really “get” it. Show them the size of the reconstructed wheel, let them hear the whistle… then you might just have a future historian. Our home in Nakusp is a great place now, but without context, it might just be another town.

If not for the museum, many tourists might pass by not knowing that we were once a transportation hub; that we ever went through the booms and busts of the peak of the mining days. If not for the museum, even people who’ve lived here most of their lives wouldn’t know what transpired on the ground they walk upon. So keep in mind that we’re more than just a stop-over. We’re a living time machine. And every time machine needs a little grease.

Just Posted

Last of southern Selkirk caribou relocated to Revelstoke area

One cow from the South Selkirk herd and two from the Purcells were moved this week

How to stay safe in the Nakusp backcountry: BCSARA

The B.C. Search and Rescue Association recommends planning, training and taking the essentials

Skier caught in backcountry avalanche near Rossland

‘The man was lucky he had the ‘A-Team’ of ski patrol people able to respond as quickly as they did,’ says Rossland rescue spokesperson

Self serve doggy-wash poised to change dog grooming industry

Add money, start spraying to wash dog in the K9000

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Scientists ID another possible threat to orcas: pink salmon

For two decades, significantly more of the whales have died in even-numbered years than in odd years

Burnaby byelection turmoil sparks debate about identity issues in politics

The Liberals still have not said whether they plan to replace Wang, who stepped aside Wednesday

Most Read