By Ida Koric, Rossland News
Ever since the Rossland Historical Museum was forced to close its underground mine tour in 2010, the Rossland Historical Museum and Archives Association (RHMAA) has been looking for ways to increase interest and visitor numbers to the site.
Over the summer Teck had funded a feasibility study for the venue, the results of which were revealed to the Museum Gateway Committee on Thursday, Nov. 28 during the association’s annual general meeting.
According to association president Libby Martin, several exciting possibilities are laid out in the report. Structurally, a facelift of the main entry area has been recommended—modernization with a glass façade and high ceilings—and eye-catching updates to the retaining wall were detailed.
Additionally, a mine-style tunnel may be built within the existing museum as a way for visitors to experience underground ambience on their journey to the museum proper.
It is also recommended that a number of the museum’s more prominent draws be centrally located where they can be accessed year-round. This includes some of the more impressive machinery from the upper level, the always-popular mineral exhibit and the interactive gold-panning activity—which may find its way indoors to help draw winter visitors.
Facilities will also be modified to encourage more visits by school groups, with a classroom designed to suit the technologies of the modern student. The small theatre may also be moved to a more prevalent space, as it is currently somewhat hidden away.
In the past year, the RHMAA have undertaken several initiatives to connect the museum to the community. Artefact and information displays were established in downtown Rossland (Credit Union and Rossland Gallery), an “Antiques Roadshow”-style event was hosted in the spring, several family events occurred over the summer months, and Sam, a world championship gold panner, offered demonstrations during Golden City Days.
In addition to the facility restructuring, a number of content-creation projects will also be underway in the future. Funding has been secured for the digitization of the archives, creation of a new website, the recording of stories from old-timers and the production of the film Mining and Moguls: Rossland’s Ski History.
After input from the project committee, a final draft of the report is expected at the end of December. Due to this intensive revitalization, the museum’s official new title will be “Rossland Museum and Discovery Centre: Metals, Mountains and Memories.”
With the intention of adding to the après-ski entertainment in the mountain city, the museum will be open this winter starting in January, from Wednesday to Saturday from 3-7 p.m.