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Artist Spotlight

Museum at Campbell River

The Museum at Campbell River has permanent exhibits that focus on Northern Vancouver Island. Their community and school programs are active learning experiences in tune with current events. Haig-Brown Heritage House is an historic local property that hosts guests and special events. The Museum’s gift shop includes First Nations and local art.

Museum Floathouse Exhibit. Photo by Ingrid Thomas courtesy of Museum at Campbell River.

Recently retired Executive Director Lesia Davis has assisted the development of the museum for the past 13 years. The Museum’s exhibits and programs expanded as funds became available. “There’s a lot of community pride built into our museum,” she says. “Our success comes from local people and resources, plus grants from corporate, private and business sponsors.”

Students painting with ochre. Photo by Catherine Gilbert courtesy of Museum at Campbell River. Each year, over 2000 children participate in school programs at the Museum. Many programs are full-day visits. Here students mix salmon eggs and ochre in clam shells to create paint. This medium, used by Indigenous Peoples pre-contact, was then applied to a traditional design.
Haig-Brown Heritage House. Photo by Rhea Laube courtesy of Museum at Campbell River.
Last winter, Patricia Robertson was Writer-in-Residence at Haig-Brown House . She commends the “terrific” exhibits and programs at the Museum. A published author and writing teacher, Patricia believes in the transformative power of stories. “We are story-telling animals,” she explains, “in the process of re-inventing ourselves.” Museums give us the historical context for forging a new, eco-centric society.

1916 Steam Donkey at May Museum Day. Photo courtesy of Museum at Campbell River.
The Museum has a 1916 Steam Donkey used by the logging industry for moving logs and equipment. The first time the Museum fired up the machine and blew the whistle people came running, recalls Executive Director Lesia Davis. “About 400 people gathered to see a piece of living history and share stories,” she says.

Boat tour with Discovery Marine Safaris. Photo by Luc Desmarais courtesy of Museum at Campbell River.
Each summer, boat tours of the Discovery Islands give a marine perspective to the past and present. Each island has a different history and trained docents bring the past alive with colourful anecdotes. Frequent on-shore excursions highlight the cruises. These half-day, weekly tours are fully booked and much-enjoyed.

The Soyokaze (meaning Gentle Wind) was owned by Shigekazu Matsunaga, a Japanese Canadian. Confiscated by the Canadian government in 1941, the boat was later retrieved by the family and put back in service. Donated in 1999, the Museum won a BC Heritage Award in 2003 for Soyokaze’s restoration.

 

 

The Museum at Campbell River is funded in part by the BC Arts Council, supporting artists and arts organizations in communities across BC.