The Revelstoke Museum & Archives has been asked to create a special exhibit on snow research and avalanches for the Virtual Museum of Canada.
“Our immediate goal will be to present this history in a dynamic website we are calling Land of Thundering Snow,” said Curator Cathy English. “In the longer term we want to ensure that Canada’s professional avalanche heritage is preserved and presented to Canadians and the world.”
The virtual exhibit — like the Virtual Museum itself — is a digital, online creation that provides people with access to historical material no matter where they are. It will take two years to produce and will include a dedicated educational section for teachers and students.
“Like all museum exhibits it is based on real objects such as photographs, diaries, newspaper clippings, sound recordings — objects that have stories to tell,” English said.
In a statement, she said the historical component “will be vast in terms of time and space.”
“For example, very few people realize that serious avalanche studies started in Canada as early as 1885 with the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway through Rogers Pass or that there are records of a snow avalanche destroying a First nations village near Nain, Newfoundland, in 1782.“
Retired Parks Canada scientist John Woods, who wrote an acclaimed book on avalanches, Snow War — An illustrated history of Rogers Pass, Glacier National Park, BC, is the lead researcher on this project. Major partners in this endeavour include the Canadian Avalanche Centre, the Revelstoke Railway Museum, Okanagan College and Parks Canada.
The public, too, can help bring this to fruition. The Museum is asking anyone with stories, journals, photographs or safety equipment to contact Cathy English at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Land of Thundering Snow is expected to be launched on Virtual Museum website in July 2014.