Thursday, 29 November 2012

Holiday Season 2012

The Museum's seasonal display, up now until the first week of 2013, (see Hours tab above) features artifacts and historical cultural thoughts and events about Christmas.

Our classical glass ornaments are in very fine condition and include bears, snowmen, birds, and more.

The little tree may not look like much but it is the perfect size for displaying our large, fine collection of ornaments.

In days past, museum volunteers would be on hand to sing carols and give visitors a home-like experience.  Below is a photo by famed Kimberley newspaper photographer, Charlie Wormington,

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and hope to see you at the Museum for a visit.

Dianne C.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Remembrance Day 2012

Commemorative plate including CWACs - Canadian Women's Army Corp

The Museum's Remembrance Day display is featured in two display cases and approximately 4 square meters (45 square feet) of vertical space in the main gallery.  It features artifacts, memorabilia, and photos in remembrance of the local people who served in the Canadian Armed Forces and will be up until just after 11 November 2012.

Local Armed Forces Members

Two hand-lettered scrolls, commissioned by Cominco, document the names of the men and women from the Sullivan Mine and the Sullivan Concentrator in active service in the Canadian Armed Forces during World War Two (WWII).  These scrolls were previously on display in Kimberley's Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 67 which existed from 1926 to 2011. 

Sullivan Mine Employees

Sullivan Concentrator Employees

Remembering Those Back Home, WWI

While overseas, some armed forces personnel in World War One (WWI) may have sent back a hand-crafted embroidered silk postcard to a loved one; such as the one shown below.  These postcards were embroidered by French women in their homes, then sent to factories where they were mounted on cards.  Embroidering these became a thriving cottage industry in 1915. Approximately 10,000,000 of these cards were made between 1915 and 1919.

Handcrafted embroidered silk postcard and modern Canadian coins

World's First Coloured Coin

In 2004, The Royal Canadian Mint struck a commemorative quarter, on the right in the photo above, featuring a single red corn poppy. It was the world's first coloured coin in circulation.  The coin on the left, is a 2010 Canadian quarter issued by the Royal Canadian Mint to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Armistice. 

The 2010 Poppy quarter: Royal Canadian Mint Poppy coin

Battledress, WWII

WWII battledress uniform and wreath

The Canadian battledress featured hidden buttons on the blouse and a large map pocket on the trousers. It was a very durable uniform made of wool in a colour slightly greener than the British uniform.

Armed Forces personnel would have worn their uniform, even after the war, to Remembrance Day ceremonies and other special events, training exercises of local militia which went on after the war, and special veterans' meetings.  Rifle training after WWII was conducted at a shooting range east of the current entrance to the main parking lot of the Kimberley Ski Hill.

Cominco support of the war effort

"Our baby elephant develops a kick"
Cominco, the main employer in Kimberley, BC, often featured war-related themes in their company magazines distributed to all employees during the World Wars.  The magazine was published from 1940 to 1971; first as a monthly magazine, then down to six times a year at the end.

 Airmen and their gear

Model plane and cipher flags code book

Aviator, Gordon Fisher's head gear

This head gear belonged to aviator Gordon Fisher pictured here, (Columbia Basin Institute of Regional History) in the cockpit of an airplane ca. 1944.  The special construction around the ear allowed for the wearing of headphones so all crew could communicate during flight in the noisy, unpressurized airplanes.

Kimberley's Rememberance Day Ceremonies will, as usual be conducted at the Kimberley cenotaph, constructed in October of 1956 from 3 tonnes of rock from Cominco's open pit mine.  The cenotaph is located at the corner of Spokane Street, Kimberley Avenue, and Gerry Sorenson Way.  This year, members of the Kimberley Community Band and the Kimberley Community Choir will lead the music.

As always, please come in to the Museum to see more items - such as an air force nurse's uniform, newspaper articles, photos of local veterans, and much more - and gain more knowledge of the influence of military service on Kimberley's citizen and culture.  See hours above.

Dianne C.
Director and volunteer

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Cominco Photo Collection - Kimberley, BC

Just one of the several boxes of Cominco photos gathered by their Kimberley Operations

Starting in ca 1910, shortly after the Sullivan Mine was opened here in Kimberley, BC,  the mine owners began collecting photos of the whole operation.  These photos were used for such things as advertizing, personnel and community relations, communications about machinery repair, and much more.

By the time the mine closed in December 2001, a vast collection of official company photos had been amassed.  Most were stored at Cominco’s Kimberley Office on Howard Street and some were kept in Trail and various other company locations.  When the Kimberley Office was closed, Teck Cominco kindly donated the older photos to the BC Archives and the more recent photos to the Kimberley Heritage Museum.

The Museum received 5,217 photos of Kimberley Operations, making this the largest photo collection from a single donor archived here at the Museum.

Organizing these thousands of photos required a person with intimate knowledge of the mine’s layout, it’s workings, it’s employees, their daily activities and special events. Who are the people in the photos? Where exactly in the mine was this photo taken? What is that machine? Which part of the Kimberley Operations does this depict – the mine itself, the mill, the fertilizer plant, the tin plant ... ?  What special or community event is this? And so on. 

Brian Crowe, miner and historian, holding an original photo depicting the workings deep in the Sullivan Mine

The task of describing, categorizing, and registering a photo in the Museum’s catalogue fell to a person most qualified to do the job, Museum Director Brian Crowe – himself a miner in the Sullivan for 32 years, and the son of George Crowe who served as a mine foreman for 37 years.

As a technician in the Geology Department, Mr. Crowe visited every corner of the mine. One of their jobs was to determine the fate of the recently blasted ore (called ‘muck’) now lying in a heap on the tunnel floor. If the muck had high enough concentrations of sought-after minerals to make it worth processing, it went to the Mill to be broken up in smaller pieces then shipped by rail to the Smelter in Trail, BC.  If not, it went to the ‘waste rock’ pile or was used to back-fill tunnels and raises (vertical tunnels). They could tell if the ore was economical usually by just looking at it!

Mr. Crowe worked on describing and organizing the thousands of photos every work day for 7 months.

Galena - Sullivan ore, on sale at the Museum

The Museum’s collection of Cominco photos is now easily searchable!

Now we can easily tell if we have a photo of a certain subject or person, for example, by looking at the digital or the printed copy of the finding aid.

Summer student, Allanah, compiling the descriptions to create a 'finding aid' - July 2012

Some of the subjects in the collection are as follows:

Community areas and buildings
Community events and organizations
Retirees and events
Sports teams and events
Local landscapes
Mining and processing locations

If you are searching for a photo that may be in this collection, the Museum advises that you first check the website of The Columbia Basin Institute of Regional History, which has some of the photos and an online ordering system for prints.

If you would like the Museum to search the collection for a specific subject, please phone 250.427.7510 to make an appointment or email to  Be advised there is a fee for researching and providing copies of the photo on a cash/cheque-only basis (see tab “Fees” on the above menu bar).

D. Cooper, volunteer - photos and article