Though its doors are currently closed to the public, the Rossland Museum & Discovery Centre is a hub of activity.
Construction on Phase I of the Rossland Museum Renewal Project is well underway and the new museum entrance is starting to take shape. The new entrance gallery includes a modern-looking front desk and a lot more room for additional exhibits.
“That added space is making a big difference for what we can showcase there,” explained Joelle Hodgins, museum director.
For instance, the added space will also allow Father Pat’s ambulance to be moved inside.
Models of the train and Rossland’s mines will be moved into the entrance gallery and several new and expanded exhibits will be there as well.
Museum staff and interns are currently working in the ski wing — while Darin Berg and his staff from NDB Construction Hall work to complete the entrance gallery — and are busy researching new displays, such as the Sinixt display.
“Hopefully … we can keep adding to it as we get more and more permission for using traditional storiesstuff,” said Hodgins.
So far the museum has permission from Tina Wynecoop, a Sinixt woman living in Spokane, to use her grandmother’s version of the mountain goat and huckleberry story. Hodgins is hoping that Wynecoop’s family will supply some huckleberry picking baskets to go along with the exhibit and is currently looking for a taxidermied mountain goat.
Staff members are also working on a Rossland Miner display, a natural history display, a geology display and a Rossland 120 display.
The museum expects to be open by June 21 for National Aboriginal Day, and hopes to be able to launch its Sinixt display that day as well.
But there’s still a lot of work to be done before then, and the museum is looking for volunteers to help out, particularly with heavy lifting and small carpentry jobs. Anyone interested in helping out on a Tuesday or Thursday can call Joelle Hodgins at the museum, 250-362-7722.
Golden ticket returns
With the renovations nearing completion, the museum and the Gold Fever Follies are bringing back the golden ticket.
The golden ticket grants its holder a discounted rate for entry to the museum and to the Gold Fever Follies’ performance. In addition, nine local businesses have confirmed that they will offer deals to the golden ticket holders as well: Rock Cut Pub, the Flying Steamshovel, Idgies/Misty Mountain Pizza, the Alpine Grind, Redstone Resort, Mountain Nugget Chocolate Company, Zee Crępes, Bear Country Kitchen, Uptown Lounge and Rossland Beer Company.
Golden tickets will be available at the museum starting June 15 and will be available from the Gold Fever Follies once their performances begin in July.
Plans to celebrate and fundraise for Phase II
The grand opening of the newly renovated musuem building will take place on Friday, June 30, 5-7 p.m. There will be cocktails, food, entertainment and speeches.
The Rossland Museum will launch its fundraising for Phase II, the mining experience, on June 30 as well. The experience is intended to replace the now-closed mine tour.
“That’s what’s really hotly anticipated obviously with the community because everyone loved the mine,” said Courtney Jewitt, board member and fundraising chair for the museum.
Phase II is estimated at $700,000, which is a large sum to raise, but the museum board is also considering combining Phase II with Phase III, a $450,000 atrium that will house the gift shop, visitors’ center and programming space.
“The reason that we’d want to combine is that they ultimately sort of meet each other. The opening of the mine experience goes into the atrium,” explains Hodgins. “So we could do a temporary entrance, or we could just combine them so that it’s all done at the same time.”
For now, the gift shop and visitors’ center are being squeezed into the entrance gallery.
The official ribbon-cutting for the newly renovated museum will be held on Tuesday, July 4 at 11 a.m.
“The reason is because we opened July 4, 1967, so 50 years to the day,” explained Hodgins.
Both MP Richard Cannings and Mayor Kathy Moore are expected to attend.