History

The old Rossland Museum which was in the basement of the Court House in Rossland. On left is Mrs. E.E. Coombs, Secretary Treasurer, Mrs. Jean Coon, Curator. circa 1962

The old Rossland Museum which was in the basement of the Court House in Rossland. On left is Mrs. E.E. Coombs, Secretary Treasurer, Mrs. Jean Coon, Curator. circa 1962

Established in 1955, the Rossland Historical Museum & Archives Association (DBA Rossland Museum & Discovery Centre) is a non-profit society and registered charity whose mission is to preserve and dynamically present the history and heritage of Rossland and area while inspiring and engaging the public through virtual and real life presentations that bring our history to life.

Our vision is that the Rossland Museum & Discovery Centre will be:

  • The visitor gateway to the Kootenays and the Columbia Basin

  • A landmark site to congregate, create, and strengthen links between diverse communities in the region

  • An active presence in the community that supports the local economy, spurs partnerships, and regenerates tourism

Entrance to the Black Bear tunnel at the Rossland Museum circa 1970

Entrance to the Black Bear tunnel at the Rossland Museum circa 1970

Check out our 2018 Annual Report here

The Rossland Historical Museum & Archives Association was established by the Rossland Rotary Club in the basement of the Rossland Court House in 1954 and was incorporated under the BC Societies Act in March of 1955. The present museum was built on the site of the Black Bear Mine in 1967 as a Canadian Centennial project thanks to Jack McDonald, Roger Terhune, and many other dedicated community members. The underground mine tour of the Black Bear Mine ran from 1967 to 2009, but is now permanently closed after a thorough review of options. The Rossland Museum Development Committee developed a “Renewal Plan” that prepared a six-phase capital program to update the museum, including Phase Two The Mine Experience: an above ground mine tunnel with interactive exhibitions and much more - the Mine Experience is slated to open to the public in 2021.

In the meantime, the main museum building remains open year round and houses thousands of artifacts on display and in storage rooms. The archives stores and preserves historic photos, documents, the Rossland Miner newspapers from 1896 to 1972, maps, and the City's early assessment and tax rolls, in addition to other important mining and community historical information. 

The museum gift shop is home to many pieces from local artists including prints and cards in addition to books, toys, memorabilia, and geological samples.

The upper level of the museum houses the Geology building. This building contains an extensive collection of geological samples from all over the world. There is historic geological and processing equipment and a hands-on rock specimen display. We also have an industrial mineral collection showing the importance of minerals in Canada's history.

The museum is the sponsor organization for Rossland’s Destination BC Visitor Centre and has tourist information, maps, and guides pertaining to BC, the Kootenay Rockies, and other tourist regions as well as our local region. In addition, we have an interactive kiosk for visitors to use.

Canada Day 2018 - Photo: Mike Sloan Photography

Canada Day 2018 - Photo: Mike Sloan Photography

Our Mandate, Mission & Vision

Mandate: The mandate of the Rossland Museum & Discovery Centre includes (a) The collection and exhibition of objects, documents, and books of any kind to illustrate and make known to the public the mining, skiing and social history of Rossland; and (b) The promotion of education, teaching, research and public programs and publication in any or all fields referred to above.

Mission: To preserve and dynamically present the heritage of Rossland and area and to inspire and engage the public through virtual and real life displays that bring our history to life.

Vision: To be the visitor gateway to the Kootenays and the Columbia Basin

Museum Trustees

President - Libby Martin | Vice President - Michael Ramsay | Treasurer-Secretary - Jim De Long | Trustee - Maureen Brown
Trustee - Geoff Coke | Trustee - Courtney Jewitt | Trustee - Mike Sloan | Trustee - Deke Baley | Trustee - Gabe Wiebe
Trustee - Jocelyn Laface

Staff Bios

We acknowledge the support of the City of Rossland, the Province of BC, Columbia Basin Trust, and our many contributors and donors to operational costs for supporting our ongoing staff and contractors.

Joelle Hodgins Museum Director   Joelle Hodgins arrived in Rossland in November 2014 from Whitehorse, Yukon where she grew up. Joelle has a bachelor’s degree in World & Comparative History and a diploma in Cultural Resource Management – both from the University of Victoria. She has been on the 2015 Heritage BC Conference Committee, 2012-15; 2017-19 Young Canada Works Peer Review Committees, 2013 Yukon Museums Standards Development Committee, and 2013 Canadian Museums Association Conference Host Committee. She is a current member of the BC Museums Association Council and co-chairs the BCMA Advocacy Committee.  Joelle is also a member of the Trail/Rossland Smokettes Women's Hockey team and Vice-President of the Rossland Mountain Film Festival society.

Joelle Hodgins
Museum Director

Joelle Hodgins arrived in Rossland in November 2014 from Whitehorse, Yukon where she grew up. Joelle has a bachelor’s degree in World & Comparative History and a diploma in Cultural Resource Management – both from the University of Victoria. She has been on the 2015 Heritage BC Conference Committee, 2012-15; 2017-19 Young Canada Works Peer Review Committees, 2013 Yukon Museums Standards Development Committee, and 2013 Canadian Museums Association Conference Host Committee. She is a current member of the BC Museums Association Council and co-chairs the BCMA Advocacy Committee.

Joelle is also a member of the Trail/Rossland Smokettes Women's Hockey team and Vice-President of the Rossland Mountain Film Festival society.

Sara Wright Collections Manager   Sara Wright is originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, but over the last few years has lived in Scotland, BC, and Ontario. She has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in history and studied Museum Management and Curatorship at Fleming College. At the museum, Sara will be working with the staff and volunteers to organize the collection storage rooms, update the collection records and develop new exhibits. Sara is excited to work with the collection, learn about Rossland’s rich history, and enjoy the beautiful scenery around her. In her spare time, Sara enjoys reading and taking photographs.

Sara Wright
Collections Manager

Sara Wright is originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, but over the last few years has lived in Scotland, BC, and Ontario. She has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in history and studied Museum Management and Curatorship at Fleming College. At the museum, Sara will be working with the staff and volunteers to organize the collection storage rooms, update the collection records and develop new exhibits. Sara is excited to work with the collection, learn about Rossland’s rich history, and enjoy the beautiful scenery around her. In her spare time, Sara enjoys reading and taking photographs.

Sarah Taekema Researcher   Sarah Taekema truly, madly, deeply loves history. She is currently working on an MA in Canadian political history through the University of Victoria which examines John A. Macdonald's influence on the development of Indigenous policy in Canada. She also has a BA in history and visual art, and a BEd. At the museum, Sarah uses her advanced research skills to uncover, analyse, organize and communicate all aspects of Rossland's history. She works with the staff to develop new displays and tours for the benefit of locals and visitors. Originally from Ontario, Sarah has made the West Kootenays her home and her favourite thing about Rossland is talking about Rossland's history while riding the ski lifts at RED Mountain!

Sarah Taekema
Researcher

Sarah Taekema truly, madly, deeply loves history. She is currently working on an MA in Canadian political history through the University of Victoria which examines John A. Macdonald's influence on the development of Indigenous policy in Canada. She also has a BA in history and visual art, and a BEd. At the museum, Sarah uses her advanced research skills to uncover, analyse, organize and communicate all aspects of Rossland's history. She works with the staff to develop new displays and tours for the benefit of locals and visitors. Originally from Ontario, Sarah has made the West Kootenays her home and her favourite thing about Rossland is talking about Rossland's history while riding the ski lifts at RED Mountain!

Janell Lancaster Programs Manager   Janell is from Ottawa, Ontario and pursued her passion for history and culture studying History and Religion at the University of Ottawa. She later obtained a Museum Studies Degree at Algonquin College. As a Museum Professional, Janell has worked at different museums in Ontario, Alberta, and BC within educational programming and other departments. Janell is responsible for organizing, developing, and presenting regular programming, school programming and special events, while working with other staff and volunteers. Janell is excited to learn about Rossland’s history and share the stories with other people. In her spare time, Janell enjoys hiking, biking and exploring.

Janell Lancaster
Programs Manager

Janell is from Ottawa, Ontario and pursued her passion for history and culture studying History and Religion at the University of Ottawa. She later obtained a Museum Studies Degree at Algonquin College. As a Museum Professional, Janell has worked at different museums in Ontario, Alberta, and BC within educational programming and other departments. Janell is responsible for organizing, developing, and presenting regular programming, school programming and special events, while working with other staff and volunteers. Janell is excited to learn about Rossland’s history and share the stories with other people. In her spare time, Janell enjoys hiking, biking and exploring.

Emily Roberts Marketing & Operations Coordinator   Emily was born in Haliburton, Ontario and studied history at McMaster University, with a focus on Caribbean history.  Shortly after graduation, she found herself motivated to live in the mountains and has lived all over BC. Residing in Rossland with her young family for 7 years, she is so pleased to be applying both vocations, Marketing and History, to the Rossland Museum. She has enjoyed snow hosting at RED Mountain and found the local history, which she will happily share, riveting. If she is not at the museum, she is out hiking, horseback riding, or playing soccer for Rossland United.

Emily Roberts
Marketing & Operations Coordinator

Emily was born in Haliburton, Ontario and studied history at McMaster University, with a focus on Caribbean history.

Shortly after graduation, she found herself motivated to live in the mountains and has lived all over BC. Residing in Rossland with her young family for 7 years, she is so pleased to be applying both vocations, Marketing and History, to the Rossland Museum. She has enjoyed snow hosting at RED Mountain and found the local history, which she will happily share, riveting. If she is not at the museum, she is out hiking, horseback riding, or playing soccer for Rossland United.

Summer 2019

We acknowledge the support of the Government of Canada, the Columbia Basin Trust, and the University of British Columbia for supporting our annual summer student programs.

Grace Chen Archives Assistant   Grace Chen is from Coquitlam, BC. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, and is currently completing her Master of Library and Information Studies at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. At the museum, she is helping with the organization of the archives, and assisting with research using the museum's archival collection. In her free time, Grace enjoys figure skating, power-lifting, hiking, and playing the piano.

Grace Chen
Archives Assistant

Grace Chen is from Coquitlam, BC. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, and is currently completing her Master of Library and Information Studies at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. At the museum, she is helping with the organization of the archives, and assisting with research using the museum's archival collection. In her free time, Grace enjoys figure skating, power-lifting, hiking, and playing the piano.

Madison Cawte Museum Assistant   Madison is a grade 11 student currently enrolled at J.L. Crowe Secondary school in Trail B.C. She Has been with us since November 2018 as a Museum Assistant, and will be our marketing assistant for the upcoming summer. She has plans to get her nursing degree at selkirk college after grade 12. She also enjoys being outdoors and spending time with family at Kootenay Lake during the summer months.

Madison Cawte
Museum Assistant

Madison is a grade 11 student currently enrolled at J.L. Crowe Secondary school in Trail B.C. She Has been with us since November 2018 as a Museum Assistant, and will be our marketing assistant for the upcoming summer. She has plans to get her nursing degree at selkirk college after grade 12. She also enjoys being outdoors and spending time with family at Kootenay Lake during the summer months.

Robbie Turnbull Operations Assistant   Robbie Turnbull is working as the Operations Assistant at the Rossland Museum for the summer of 2019. He has lived in Rossland his entire life up until the fall of last year when he moved to Nelson to study music at Selkirk College where he will complete his degree in contemporary music, majoring in composition next year.

Robbie Turnbull
Operations Assistant

Robbie Turnbull is working as the Operations Assistant at the Rossland Museum for the summer of 2019. He has lived in Rossland his entire life up until the fall of last year when he moved to Nelson to study music at Selkirk College where he will complete his degree in contemporary music, majoring in composition next year.

Chantal Johnston Collections Assistant   Chantal Johnston was born and raised in Rossland but has moved to study Sciences at the University of Victoria. She has returned home for the summer to organize the exhibits and collections at the Museum, as well as to hike up the mountains and swim in the lakes around town. She is very excited to spend her summer learning more about the history of her hometown.

Chantal Johnston
Collections Assistant

Chantal Johnston was born and raised in Rossland but has moved to study Sciences at the University of Victoria. She has returned home for the summer to organize the exhibits and collections at the Museum, as well as to hike up the mountains and swim in the lakes around town. She is very excited to spend her summer learning more about the history of her hometown.

Darin De Jager Archives Assistant   Darin is a Grade 12 student currently attending J.L. Crowe in Trail. He recently began working at the Rossland Museum & Discovery Centre as an archives assistant for the summer season. Darin is originally from South Africa and moved in 2006, going all around Canada before finding his home in Rossland where he loves to spend his free time hiking, participating in local sports, and skiing during winter. He plans on going to university for studies in law and justice.

Darin De Jager
Archives Assistant

Darin is a Grade 12 student currently attending J.L. Crowe in Trail. He recently began working at the Rossland Museum & Discovery Centre as an archives assistant for the summer season. Darin is originally from South Africa and moved in 2006, going all around Canada before finding his home in Rossland where he loves to spend his free time hiking, participating in local sports, and skiing during winter. He plans on going to university for studies in law and justice.

Aby Elwood Educational Programs Assistant   Aby is from Trail, B.C. She has just finished her first year of her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at the University of Victoria. She has come back to the Kootenays to work as an Educational Programs Assistant here for her second year in a row. She is very excited to prepare for our Camp Black Bear this coming summer and ready to create many fun activities for the community!

Aby Elwood
Educational Programs Assistant

Aby is from Trail, B.C. She has just finished her first year of her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at the University of Victoria. She has come back to the Kootenays to work as an Educational Programs Assistant here for her second year in a row. She is very excited to prepare for our Camp Black Bear this coming summer and ready to create many fun activities for the community!

Hannah Klemmensen Research Assistant   Born and raised in Rossland, Hannah spent a year in Brazil as a Rotary exchange student and went on to complete her last two years of high school at the United World College in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. She returned this summer to work as a research assistant at the museum before heading to the University of Toronto to study international development. While always curious to see more of the world, she loves her hometown, especially its engaged and proactive community that is always working to make their home a little better. When not excitedly searching for more information on the region’s history, Hannah can be found in the woods, playing piano, or daydreaming about new adventures.

Hannah Klemmensen
Research Assistant

Born and raised in Rossland, Hannah spent a year in Brazil as a Rotary exchange student and went on to complete her last two years of high school at the United World College in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. She returned this summer to work as a research assistant at the museum before heading to the University of Toronto to study international development. While always curious to see more of the world, she loves her hometown, especially its engaged and proactive community that is always working to make their home a little better. When not excitedly searching for more information on the region’s history, Hannah can be found in the woods, playing piano, or daydreaming about new adventures.

Marco Santano Historical Interpreter   Marco Santano is a summer student at the Rossland Museum and Discovery Centre. A student at Selkirk College, he begins the Nursing Program in the fall. Raised in Rossland, Marco is an avid skier, mountain biker and golfer and loves all that this city has to offer. He is very excited to spend his summer learning more about Rossland’s rich history and sharing it with locals and tourists alike.

Marco Santano
Historical Interpreter

Marco Santano is a summer student at the Rossland Museum and Discovery Centre. A student at Selkirk College, he begins the Nursing Program in the fall. Raised in Rossland, Marco is an avid skier, mountain biker and golfer and loves all that this city has to offer. He is very excited to spend his summer learning more about Rossland’s rich history and sharing it with locals and tourists alike.

Hailey Armstrong Educational Programs Assistant   Hailey Armstrong has returned for the summer from Trinity Western University after completing her first year in her Bachelor of Education degree. Born in Saskatchewan but raised for most of her life in Warfield, she has grown to love the mountains, skiing, camping and everything else that the mountains have to offer. With a love for history and a fun-loving spirit, she is excited to begin work for Camp Black Bear and the fun activities planned for the upcoming summer.

Hailey Armstrong
Educational Programs Assistant

Hailey Armstrong has returned for the summer from Trinity Western University after completing her first year in her Bachelor of Education degree. Born in Saskatchewan but raised for most of her life in Warfield, she has grown to love the mountains, skiing, camping and everything else that the mountains have to offer. With a love for history and a fun-loving spirit, she is excited to begin work for Camp Black Bear and the fun activities planned for the upcoming summer.

Other Local History Organizations:

City of Rossland Heritage Commission

www.heritagerossland.com

Rossland has a unique cultural and built heritage spanning over a century. There are currently many buildings and landmarks that originate from the resource mining days of Rossland's inception, serving as a reminder of the City's history. Continued and new efforts should be made to ensure the rich heritage of the City of Rossland is maintained and enhanced. 

As part of these efforts, the City of Rossland adopted Bylaw 2439 in November 2009 which initiated the the establishment of a Heritage Commission.

The scope and duties of the Rossland Heritage Commission are:

  • To review and submit recommendations to Council on land use and planning matters which have heritage implications

  • To advise Council on any matter relating to heritage conservation as set out in Part 27 of the Local Government Act.

  • To recommend strategies and policies to Council and undertake programs for the support of heritage conservation.

  • To support heritage education and public awareness through programs such as Heritage Week displays and newsletters

  • To prepare a work program and an annual report

  • To raise funds and pursue partnerships for the support of conservation and promotion of heritage

  • Each year, Council shall include in its annual operating budget a sum of money deemed necessary for the operations of the Commission

  • Each year, the Commission will submit to Council an operating budget request outlining expected expenditure and revenues

  • The Commission may authorize expenditures provided for its annual operating budget, as approved by Council, but shall not otherwise have the authority to incur any expense, debt, or obligation to the City without prior approval of Council

Columbia Basin Institute of Regional History

www.basininstitute.org

The Columbia Basin Institute of Regional History is a non-profit history society dedicated to furthering the documentation and presentation of our region's human and natural history. We are centred in Cranbrook, but work with regional partners to encompass the Columbia Basin region of British Columbia. We take as a first principle that 'all that has gone before has the potential to inform our present actions and shape our future ones'.

Kootenay Columbia Educational Heritage Society

www.schooldistrict20history.org/

The Kootenay Columbia Educational Heritage Society was incorporated in 2005. The Society is an initiative of the West Kootenay Branch of the BC Retired Teachers Association. Members of the Teachers Association began meeting as a committee of the Association in 2001 with the intention of preserving the educational legacy of School District No. 20 (Kootenay Columbia) by collecting and maintaining accurate historical records and preserving representative artifacts of former School Districts No. 9 (Castlegar) and 11 (Trail).Established in 1955, the Rossland Historical Museum & Archives Association (DBA Rossland Museum & Discovery Centre) is a non-profit society and registered charity whose mission is to preserve and dynamically present the history and heritage of Rossland and area while inspiring and engaging the public through virtual and real life presentations that bring our history to life.