It was an overcast and chilly day as the Nakusp and Area Museum opened its doors for the first time in over six months. Those who weren’t able to make it to the open house back in October now have the chance to see the museum’s face lift.
Instead of being forced to stay behind a barrier, visitors are now able to walk into the displays, making things more user friendly, though touching the artifacts is still taboo.
Some of the items on display were once held at the Leland Hotel. Others were donated by local families. Many items were rescued from homes that were abandoned before the flooding of the valley back in the 1960s.
“There’s so much stuff in here,” said Sharon Montgomery, the museum’s curator. “There are things that I see that I haven’t seen before, and I’ve been here for almost 20 years.”
There is a variety of displays and artifacts at the museum, ranging from christening gowns and wedding dresses, to farming and forestry equipment, along with uniforms, medals, and other memorabilia from WWI and WWII.
The Siamese pig is still on display at the entrance, but will soon be moved to the farming section.
There is one new display in the museum, created by students at Lucerne Elementary and Secondary School.
It’s a wood mural featuring painted and unpainted Haida Gwaii totem heads. The heads that were painted represent the children who survived living in the residential schools. The unpainted heads represent the children who died at the schools.
Despite the fact that it was the museum’s first day of the season, not many people showed up, something Montgomery said is common.
“In May and June it’s always quiet, people always go to New Denver or Burton, or somewhere else,” she said. “Then at the first of July they come here.”
Despite the small turnout for the opening, Montgomery is hoping the museum has a better season that it did last year. The museum was down 28 per cent last year, which Montgomery attributes to less tourists coming in from Alberta.
“This year, I think we’re going to miss them again because of all the trouble in Fort McMurray, but we’re hoping for a good year.”