Red Lights & Roulette
February 2 - May 1
Get a glimpse into the history of prostitution and gambling in Nanaimo. The exhibit features stories from the Red Light District on Fraser Street from the 1890s-1920s and the history of gambling from the 1870s to the present. The exhibit features stories of people and events from Nanaimo at the turn of the 20th century.
December 1st 2014 - January 5th 2015
Take a nostalgic look at 1950s popular culture, Christmas traditions and toys. 1950s Christmas features a variety of artifacts including toys, furniture, photos and Christmas decorations. Visiting this exhibit will feel like a step back into a simpler time when the holiday season was just two weeks long and focused on family traditions.
Ring of Fire: Canadians in the Pacific in WW2 - a travelling exhibit from The Military Museums in Calgary
September 12th - November 15th 2014
Ring of Fire tells the stories of Canada’s troops in the Pacific during WWII. The exhibit is on loan from the Military Museums in Calgary and runs from September 12 - November 15.
Created to raise awareness of Canada’s participation in the Pacific theatre and the casualties suffered in Hong Kong, Ring of Fire highlights the contributions of local people and stories from across the country.
This exhibit includes rare photographs, medal groups, personal artifacts and art by prisoners of war. Paintings and drawings by Norman Takeuchi are also featured to share a personal perspective on the internment of Japanese Canadians.
For more information please contact the museum at (250) 753-1821.
Canada Day 1
June 2nd - September 1st 2014
Visit the bilingual exhibition Canada: Day 1 and explore first steps, first impressions and first experiences as a newcomer to Canada, from Confederation to present day. Canada: Day 1 will be presented from June 2 to September 1 at the Nanaimo Museum in partnership with the Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society. The exhibition explores diverse personal immigration experiences in a thoughtful way through oral histories, archival images, original artworks, objects and your participation. You will be transported back to your first day in Canada, or inspired to imagine yourself in a newcomer’s shoes. Canada: Day 1 is a travelling exhibition produced by the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 as a legacy project of our nation’s 150th anniversary in 2017 and supported by RBC Foundation. For more information please call 250-753-1821
Discovering Departure Bay April 8th to May31rd
The next feature exhibit in the Nanaimo Museum's Discovery series looks at the Departure Bay area. Opening April 8, the exhibit highlights stories from the Departure Bay neighborhood including its roots as a Snuneymuxw winter village, a haunted mansion built by the Dunsmuir family, a jail, crimes committed by visiting sailors and the installation of BC's first telephone. The area's heritage will be explored through photos, paintings and artifacts from the museum's collections and on loan from local families and organizations
Navigating Nanaimo: Maps & Charts of the Harbour City January 22nd to March 22nd
From an early Spanish chart to contemporary maps, recording Nanaimo on paper is the theme of the Nanaimo Museum’s next feature exhibition. Nanaimo’s most detailed maps show places none of us have seen: the vast tunnel network under the city, all drawn to scale. The exhibition’s centrepiece is a seven meter long map that documents all the works from the Southfield Mine (the Cedar landfill) north to Brechin Point and east beyond Protection Island.
In addition to Nanaimo maps, the exhibition will examine the E&N Railway land grant, which attracted many settlers and development. A display of equipment from the 1880s to the 1920s will complement the exhibition of maps and charts.
TOYS November 15th to December 31st
Our winter feature exhibit this year will be Toys – a variety of unique and interesting playthings from the past. The Nanaimo Museum needs your help to create this exhibit on the history of toys! The exhibit will highlight toys with a Nanaimo connection from the 1980s and older. Toys from the museum’s collection and private collections in the community will be on display mid-November through the Christmas season. If you are interested in loaning an artifact to the museum for the exhibit, please send a photo of your toy to Aimee Greenaway at firstname.lastname@example.org prior to October 25. Toys must be from the 1980s or older and in good condition. For more information please call 250-753-1821. Thank you for your support!
August 15- November 2, 2013
Expedition: Arctic is a thrilling and awe inspiring new feature exhibit
on loan from the Canadian Museum of Civilization. The Canadian Arctic
Expedition of 1913-1918, was one of the world’s last greatest journeys
of discovery before the age of modern communication and airborne
technologies. The exhibit highlights stories of adversity and discovery
as an international collective of scientists, sailors, guides, and
hunters forged through remote arctic terrain in the name of science.
Visitors will have the chance to view a multitude of artifacts from the
expedition, in addition to archival photographs and maps showcasing the
expedition’s journey. The exhibit also hosts a variety of interactive
features which enable visitors to “become” a member of the expedition.
The exhibit runs from August 15th – November 2nd.
Art Deco Fashions
May 9 - August 6, 2013
The Art Deco movement had a profound influence on the world of fashion in the 1920s to 1930s. In the upcoming feature exhibit Art Deco Fashions, visitors to the Nanaimo Museum can view over 25 garments and accessories that beautifully represent the era’s trends of simplicity, cubism, and youthfulness. Beginning in Paris, the style quickly gained worldwide popularity, drawing inspiration from geometric shapes to evoke elegance and modernity. It was also influenced by an increased ability to travel world wide – bringing inspiration from faraway places such as Russia, Egypt, and Mexico. Pieces were selected from the collections of guest curators, Ivan Sayers and Claus Jahnke, the Nanaimo Museum and other private collections. The exhibit runs from May 9th to August 6th.
In Tents: How We Camped
January 17th to April 27th
Camping under the stars is as Canadian as hockey and curling. The Nanaimo Museum's first feature exhibit of 2013, In Tents: How We Camped, explores one of Canada's favorite pastimes. Produced by the Nanaimo Museum with the assistance of local collectors, the exhibit is a nostalgic look at camping before the arrival of bring-it-all-with-you travel trailers and RVs. Through a series of recreated “campsites” visitors can explore a world of living under canvas stretching almost 100 years. Do you have a camping memory or photo you would like to share in the exhibition?
Help us build a collection of images and stories for future generations by submitting your memories to email@example.com with “Camping” in the subject line, or stop by and drop them off at our front desk. For the full press release click here.
Spirit of Life Fibre-Art Exhibit
September 13th to December 29, 2012
Nanaimo artist Cecile Jacobs has created a unique art form; wall hangings that combine textiles, paint, appliqué, embroidery and other media. Her works are a medium for expressing complex ideas, messages and inspiration. Complementing Cecile’s art will be an exhibition of artifacts from the museum’s textile collection reflecting different styles of embroidery, appliqué and painting on pillows, clothing and quilts.The exhibit runs from September 13th to December 29th.
Click here to read more about this exhibit and our other press releases.
To the Moon: Snoopy Soars with NASA
Daily, June 2nd to September 3rd 2012, 10am - 5pm
Our Feature Exhibit for the summer will be To the Moon: Snoopy Soars with NASA. Come and join us as we explore space with Charles Schulz's beloved Peanuts character Snoopy; NASA's official safety mascot since 1968. The exhibition examines the history of the Apollo 10 mission, and Snoopy's role in that flight and the NASA Manned Flight Awareness safety program.
In To the Moon: Snoopy Soars with NASA, visitors will see Snoopy's trip to the moon in the March 1969 Peanuts strip series, learn about the NASA's Silver Snoopy Award program, and view a Silver Snoopy pin that was flown to the moon! The exhibit also contains a children's creative play space where children can dress up like an astronaut, have their photograph taken in a life-size Apollo 10 astronaut suit standee, and play in Snoopy's outer-space doghouse!
Beginning June 28th, every Thursday from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm during this exhibit is our Rocket Lab Program, where kids can build and race their own rockets!
Our Feathered Friends
Monday to Saturday, February 3 to May 21 2012, 10am - 5pm
Why are feathers important to understanding birds? Why do some remain close to home year-round and others migrate for thousands of kilometers? Answers to these questions are an integral part of Our Feathered Friends, a travelling exhibition from Ottawa’s Canadian Museum of Nature. The exhibition ‘takes flight’ at the Nanaimo Museum, from February 3 to May 21, 2012 and is suitable for all ages.
The exhibition’s display units and graphics provide an introduction to birds and birdwatching. “Visitors’ skill when identifying local birds will be enhanced via the exceptional photography of Ralph Hocken and study specimens loaned from VIU’s Museum of Natural History, “said curator David Hill-Turner. “Novice birders will find the exhibition and programs very helpful in learning more about the hobby”.
Public programmes offered as part of the exhibition will appeal to various birding interests. They include: a photography contest, Urban Bird tours and ecology programs for elementary school students. Please contact Aimee Greenaway at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on these programs.
Come along to the workshops and demonstrations and even learn to prepare a meal for your favourite backyard bird. Using photos, specimens and video, learn what makes birds special, how they soar and glide and how to identify them. More than 400 species of birds have been identified in BC, more than any other province in Canada.
Whether you are an indoor or outdoor birdwatcher you will find something of interest in this traveling exhibit, Our Feathered Friends at Nanaimo Museum.
This exhibition is sponsored by THE BACKYARD Wildbird and Nature Store.
Women's Fashion of La Belle Epoque 1890-1914
September 2 to December 31, 2011
Women's Fashions of La Belle Epoque is our new feature exhibit, drawing from the textile collections of Ivan Sayers, Claus Jahnke and the Nanaimo Museum. The exhibit showcases the gorgeous fashions, sumptuous fabrics and intricate accessories of the 1890-1914 period. This exhibit will also include two public programs with Guest Curator and Fashion Historian, Ivan Sayers.
The 1890-1914 period represents a time when fashionable clothing was becoming more accessible to everyone. Fashions of this era celebrated the peak of luxury that was enjoyed by the very wealthy. It also represented a time of significant social change for women, many of whom were becoming well-educated. Women were also entering the workforce in large numbers and styles began to change. This period in time was one of peace and security before the horrors of WW1. With the many technological innovations in transportation and manufacturing, this was also an era of great scientific and technological advancement in Europe and the world in general.
Ivan Sayers is a fashion historian who specializes in the study of women's, men's, and children's fashions, from 1650 to the present. He graduated from UBC in 1969, with a BA in Classical Studies. A long-time resident of Vancouver, he worked at the Vancouver Museum from 1970 to 1990, and was the Curator of History for the institution from 1976 to 1990.
The 60-year-old Sayers is known in Vancouver's small fashion community because of the lectures and historical fashion shows he presents. He has one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of historic clothing in private hands in Canada, and has produced many fashion shows, lectures, and exhibitions. As curator for the Original Costume Museum Society, a group dedicated to preserving historical clothing from around the world, Sayers is able to bring his expertise to the public. He commonly jokes that his collection is so vast, that he sleeps in the dining room of his 3-bedroom home.
Two Views: Photographs by Ansel Adams and Leonard Frank
May 20 to August 21, 2011
This compelling collection of photographs is a travelling exhibit from the Japanese Canadian National Museum and presents two views of internment and incarceration in the early 1940s. This exhibition provides an opportunity to reflect on the nature of forced separation and uprooting and the affects this has on its victims. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, both the Canadian and American governments forced the relocation of citizens of Japanese descent from the coastal regions. Nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans and 22,000 Japanese Canadians were affected, including Nanaimo's small Japanese community.
Ansel Adams (1902-1984) is usually thought of as a landscape photographer, a maker of images that blend drama and contemplation. From 1943 to 1944, Ansel Adams made a number of trips to Manzanar War Relocation Center. His powerful photographs capture the harsh daily life and resilience of the 10,000 Japanese Americans incarcerated there during World War II. When he offered the collection to the Library of Congress, Adams wrote, "The purpose of my work was to show how these prople, suffering under a great injustice, and loss of property, businesses and professions, had overcome the sense of defeat and dispair [sic] by building for themselves a vital community in an arid (but magnificent) environment."
Leonard Frank (1870-1944) was hired by the BC Security Commission to record the removal of Canadians of Japanese descent from the BC Coast. In 1942, he was contracted as the documentary photographer of the BC internment. Frank's documentary photographs of the Japanese put into Hastings Park temporary holding areas, are both stark and shocking. The images of the cavernous buildings give a unique perspective, focusing on the bureaucratic systems in place rather than the suffering of the community. Frank also documented the moving process and visited several camps in the interior of BC.
Discovering South Wellington:
April 6 to May 14, 2011
Discover historic South Wellington, an enterprising community in a valley south of Nanaimo where coal mines, railways, farming and families once created a bustling community. Nanaimo Museum is proud to work with and showcase a local community in our Feature Exhibit Gallery.
The exhibit is based on Clare Singleton's book Treasures of South Wellington. The exhibit includes a variety of photographs, artifacts and stories provided by the community that complement the original works by the artist. Visitors will learn about the dangers faced by miners, the devastating fires that swept through the community and the lives of people who lived there. "We worked closely with the artist to develop the exhibit and include stories from the recently published community history South Wellington: Stories from the Past," said museum curator David Hill-Turner.
Clare's art is the centre of the exhibit, to be complemented with photos and artifacts. She lives in South Wellington and describes herself as an "on location" artist who paints from life. She likes to be there and live the experience, so she moved to South Wellington in 2007 from Ladysmith to be closer to her subject matter. Her book forms the basis of the exhibit's storyline. Her work highlights the generations of mining families in this area and the lives they still lead.
Join us also for the series of Saturday lectures at the museum and walking tours of the South Wellington community that supplement the exhibit based on Clare Singleton's paintings of South Wellington.
September 30 until March 5, 2011
On September 30, 1960 the largest fire in Nanaimo’s history destroyed the Pine Street Chinatown, destroying two dozen buildings and leaving as many as 200 people without homes. To commemorate the anniversary of this colossal event, Nanaimo Museum recently opened the new feature exhibit Discovering Chinatown.
“This exhibit honours Nanaimo’s Chinese community and opens in recognition of the 50th anniversary of Nanaimo’s Chinatown fire,” says Debbie Trueman, general manager.
While few physical vestiges of Nanaimo’s once thriving Chinese community remain, the story of Chinese settlement offers fascinating insight into one of Nanaimo’s oldest communities, and the important economic and cultural role it played in the city’s development.
“What we’re looking at is the connection between Nanaimo and the Chinese community going back to the 1860s,” said museum curator, David Hill-Turner.
Housed in the Nanaimo Museum Feature Gallery, Discovering Chinatown utilizes artifacts, photographs, paintings and film to tell the story of Nanaimo’s four Chinatowns, the first of which was established in 1860. It was in fact the third Chinatown that went up in flames in 1960.
Michael Mah, president of the Nanaimo Chinese Cultural Society, said over the years there was talk of rebuilding, but it was too expensive and Nanaimo didn’t have enough Chinese residents to warrant it. “People have integrated,” he said. “They live in all parts of town now. Even before the fire, there wasn’t that much business activity there.”
Nanaimo’s Chinese settlers had a unique impact on the city’s history, says Hill-Turner. Like all pioneers, they struggled against many obstacles and ultimately had to fight for recognition as Canadian citizens. After World War II, the removal of discriminatory immigration policy and acceptance of official multiculturalism allowed people of Chinese descent to take their place at all levels of Canadian society.
Diversity Photography Finalists
March 15 to 22, 2011
Presented by the Central Vancouver Island Multi-Cultural Society
November 9 to 13, 2010
This is a joint exhibition with the Nanaimo Museum and Vancouver Island Military Museum to commemorate Remembrance Day. The exhibit will be open to the public from Tuesday, November 9 through to Saturday, November 13. Admission to the museum will be free to all veterans during the exhibit and the museum will be closed on November 11 in honour of Remembrance Day.
On Display are posters, books, uniforms and artifacts from WWI, WWII, Korea, Afghanistan and Peace Keeping Operations. The displays also highlight the important role Nanaimo played during WWII. There are audio/video displays from the Departments of Defense and Veteran Affairs. Veterans and Armed Services personnel will be on hand to answer questions.
Feature: Acres of Dreams
June 5 to Sept. 6, 2010
This is a travelling exhibititon produced by the Canadian Museum of Civilization in collaboration with the Library and Archives Canada. It was developed to mark the centennials of Saskatchewan and Alberta, both of which gained provincial status in 1905 thanks largely to the people and events depicted in this exhibit.
Between 1896 and the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, about two million settlers from Europe and the United States poured into the Canadian Prairies in the greatest single wave of immigration in Canada's history.
Acres of Dreams: Settling the Canadian Prairies revisits the unprecedented marketing campaign led by the federal government that lured immigrants into Western Canada. It also examines the origins, motivations, and experiences of the settlers who forever changed the prairie landscape and played an essential role in building Canada.
The exhibition highlights the dazzling array of posters, pamphlets, slogans, contest, travelling dispays, and lecture tours used in the marketing campaign led by the government, railway companies, steamship lines, and other business interests. The invitation to settle the Canadian Prairies - touted with slogans such as "Free Farms for the Millions," "The Land of Opportunity," and "The Last Best West" - embraced by individuals and families from as far away as Russia
Admission to the exhibit is included in the museum's admission.
The Nanaimo Museum would like to thank local sponsor:
April 10 to May 24, 2010
Vancouver Island's premiere juried print competition, and last ran in 2008. This year's competition features over 70 works from photographers from up and down the island.
On this year's exhibition, Peter Gyorffy, Chair of the Organizing Committee remarked, "We're exceptionally pleased with the level of quality and artistry in this year's entries. We have wonderful images from seasoned professionals and budding hobbyists alike, many of whom are competing for the first time."
The exhibit opens with an awards presentation on April 10th, 2010 at 2p.m. The public is encouraged to attend and meet the participating artists.
For more information on the Harbour City Photography Club visit their website: www.harbourcityphoto.com
Admission to the exhibit is included in the museum's admission.
For more information on the competition contact: Peter Gyorffy, Chair of Photosalon 2010 Organizing Committee at email@example.com
Click here for more information on PhotoSalon 2010
Visiting: Wheels in Motion
March 19 to April 6, 2010
This exhibit celebrated the 25th Anniversary of Rick Hansen's Man in Motion tour at the Nanaimo Museum.
It became more than he ever dreamed possible. In March 1985, Rick Hansen and his team set off from Vancouver's Oakridge Mall to do something nobody else had ever done: wheelchair around the world. Over the next 26 months, he wheeled through 34 countries on four continents. While many would be satisfied with just this achievement, Rock took his personal challenge to the world. He shared his personal belief that "anything is possible" with men and women with spinal injuries who needed a role model. His dream challenged how we saw people in a wheelchair.
Developed with the support of the local Man in Motion organizer Robin-Lee Gibson, the exhibit will trace Rick's route around the globe. It will also look at the tour's legacy and how Rick's dream is still encouraging those with spinal injuries to achieve their goals.
January 13 to March 26, 2010
The Nanaimo Museum presents this feature exhibition which showcases a blend of tools from the museum's collection and sculpture by Lou Lynn. Lynn's sculpture is inspired by everyday objects and implements, such as the wheel, ulu, and hand tools from times past. Lynn has created a body of work that questions the relationships that exist between design, function, and art. It has been said that Lynn's work - weighted by references to historical artifacts, the everyday, and whimsy - sits comfortably within the context of contemporary craft and sculpture.
Working primarily in glass, aluminum, and bronze, Lynn acknowledges both the historical and contemporary signatures of her materials through a variety of processes including sand and lost-wax casting; and blown, cast, flame-worked, and cold-worked glass. Whether working on her own or with the technical assistance of others, Lynn's particular visual language is clearly evident in all aspects of her creative process.
Lynn's artistic career spans more than thirty years. She resides near Winlaw in the Slocan Valley and divides her time between studio work, teaching at art centres across Canada and the United States, and a quintessentially hard-working rural lifestyle. The tranquility afforded by rural life, coupled with urban dynamism, provides her with the atmosphere to pursue her studio work with thoughtfulness and focus.
Lynn has studied at the Pilchuck Glass School, Honolulu Academy of Art, Oregon College of Art and Craft, and the University of Alberta. Her work can be found in national and international collections including the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, Waterloo, ON.; Bronfman/Claridge Collection, Montreal, PQ.; Glasmuseum, Ebeltoft, Denmark; Foreign Affairs Canada - Berlin Embassy Collection, Germany; Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY; and the Yunnan Hanrongxuan Art Museum, Kunming, China. Lynn has received numerous awards throughout her career. In particular, the large wall installation, Tools as Artifacts (2008), was produced with grant assistance from the Canada Council for the Arts.
Visiting: "Rust in Peace" - Photo Exhibit
October 6 to December 23, 2009
This exhibit is a black and white photographic essay that captures the bleak scrap piles of discarded technology on Vancouver Island in the 1970s. Jame's photos record the silent stacks of cars and trucks that were a source of parts for island mechanics and were local landmarks.
Rick James is an archaeologist and photographer living in Courtenay, B.C.
November 7 - December 31, 2009
Featured Collectors are:
Robin Lee Gibson - Memorabilia from Rick Hansen's Man in Motion World Tour. As Rick's cousin, Robin was part of the entire tour and continues planning and organizing events that support the Rick Hansen Foundation.
Tom Teer - Tom is an avid collector of anything to do with coal mining in Nanaimo. His collection(s) include tools, signage and archival material.
Steve Young - A variety of objects from Steve's diverse collection have been selected to form a dining room setting. This 1920s era setting will include table, chairs, cutlery, glassware, and a barley twist chandelier.
Mike Herold - Mike has selected a few Chandler pastels from his large collection as well as some of beverage bottles and soda siphons from Nanaimo's various bottling works.
José Hope - Has selected a variety of embroidered objects that representing various stitching techniques throughout the years.
Matt James - Will present a selection of plugs, spoons and flashers from his extensive collection of fishing gear.
Bill Bokstrom - Bill has selected a variety of samples from his Nanaimo pharmacy bottles from his bottle collection.
Rick Morgan - Rick will feature a collection of crests, badges and other Vancouver Island Car Club memorabilia that date back to the 1950s.
Wild4Life Feature Exhibit:
October 29- November 5, 2009
Wild4Life Feature Exhibit:
October 29th- November 5, 2009
Mark Corbett Presents: Wild 4 Life Photo Safari 2:
"BC to Belize & Back Again"
You are invited on a photographic adventure documenting Mark Corbett's 10-day road trip from Vancouver Island to Belize in Central America, the seven months he spent living in Belize and his journey back. The event will open a week long exhibition in the Museum's Feature Gallery that will also showcase Mark's photography work here on the island. This event is also a fundraiser for the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre. Tickets are $25 ea. including gourmet appies and great door prizes including accommodations in Belize. Come see the Wild4Life animal ambassadors! Wear an animal costume and you could win!
Feature: "Rocket" Richard: The Legend - The Legacy
July 18 - October 11, 2009
2009 an exciting new exhibition on the life and career of one of Canada’s greatest sports heroes, Maurice “The Rocket” Richard, will open at the Nanaimo Museum. “Rocket” Richard: The Legend-The Legacy, featuring the Maurice Richard Collection that the Canadian Museum of Civilization acquired in 2002, pays tribute to The Rocket and gives visitors a sense of his life and times.
The feature exhibit will present 90 remarkable object, more than half of which were once owned by Maurice Richard. These include the last Number 9 hockey sweater Richard wore as a playing member of the Montreal Canadians, hockey sticks used by Richard to score landmark goals, trophies, pucks, skates, sweaters, his Hall of Fame induction ring and the original copy of his retirement speech. Also on display will be related “Maurice Richard” merchandise, ranging from a Maurice Richard lamp to the reproduction of a Rocket bread wrapper.
Tribute songs and personal stories told by teammates and opponents round out this portrait of a player whose memory draws Canadians together in celebration of our national sport. To many sports fans, these objects are among the most important items of sports memorabilia in existence-marking milestones in the career of one of the most illustrious players in the history of hockey.
The exhibition has been designed to appeal not only to hockey fans, but to anyone who either lived through The Rocket’s heyday or wants to understand his significance in Canadian history.
"Maurice Richard was a hero to legions of hockey fans in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada. In addition to his importance as a sports hero, he was a significant symbol in building the spirit and confidence of so many people in the 1950’s and 1960’s,” notes Dr. Victor Rabinovitch, President of the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation.
To French Canadians, in particular, he was a champion and a source of pride. Fans identified so strongly with Richard that they rioted in the streets of Montreal in 1955 when they believed that he was unfairly suspended from playing in the playoffs after a late season brawl.
Richard remained a hero in his home province for the rest of his life and his memory is revered to this day. As a cultural symbol, he has become part of the social fabric of this country.
“Rocket” Richard: The Legend-The Legacy is presented at the Nanaimo Museum until October 11, 2009.
A travelling exhibition organized by the Canadian Museum of Civilization