Recent visitors to the Cumberland Museum at 4th & Dunsmuir may have noticed that there is more going on than usual, and not just because of the busier tourist season. The Museum’s usual 1.5 staff has been bolstered for the summer through student employment programs, internships and partnerships with the Village of Cumberland, University of Victoria and Vancouver Island University. On a given day you may find as many as six employees at work on a variety of new exhibits and projects.
Two separate archive projects are underway. One, in collaboration with UVic and the BC Museums Association, as part of a province-wide effort to compile a publicly accessible database of Chinese Canadian artifacts and archives held in BC museums. A second project involves digitizing and indexing other documents, photos, glass negatives, newspapers, and more in order to make the archives more accessible to both Museum staff and other users. A similar project resulted in the remarkable online photo collection at www.cumberlandmuseum.com/photos
New shelving is being installed in the Community Research Room. The room holds a collection of books, files and documents that provide a wonderful resource for researchers, genealogists, students, or the curious visitor.
Two new exhibits are also in the works that will be launched in September. The first will tell the story of many of the businesses that made up the fabric of downtown Cumberland from economic highs and lows, devastating fires, and a sharp decline in population with the end of coal mining to the vibrant Village core we know today. The exhibit will draw on the extensive permanent collection of artifacts housed at the Museum, and will also include interactive elements for all ages.
The second exhibit is being developed due to the enthusiastic response to the Cumberland Collieries’ Railway book by Patrick O. Hind published by the Museum in 2014. The exhibit will explore the characters, locomotives, curiosities and disasters of the railway that ran from Cumberland to Union Bay and connecting southward with the E&N line from 1888 to 1960.
In support of all of this activity, Cumberland Museum & Archives are running a donor drive until mid-September with related gifts for contributors from books to framed prints and private walking tours for you and your friends. For more information and to support these initiatives go to www.cumberlandmuseum.ca