MUCH MORE SPACE FOR NORTH-EASTERN BC’S FOSSILS
Press Release
For Immediate Release

Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation
Box 1348 Tumbler Ridge, BC V0C 2W0
Contact: Dr Charles Helm, Vice President – 250 242 3984

21 April, 2008

The Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre (PRPRC) and the Dinosaur Discovery Gallery may be moving into a new building in Tumbler Ridge some time in 2008. The District of Tumbler Ridge recently granted the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation (TRMF) the use of the de-commissioned Claude Galibois Elementary School building which the district purchased in December 2007. The District’s decision was made after careful consideration of several other proposals by community-based organizations.

Maiking the announcement during the opening of a new TRMF exhibit in the Community Centre, Mayor Mike Caisley said it was “a major step forward in the evolution of a world class facility in our community; it provides the Museum Foundation with sufficient space to continue with their critically important work relative to their discoveries

The TRMF had made a strong case for the interim use of the 25,500 square foot building (compared with its current total space of 5,000 square feet) as a means to expand its growing palaeontology exhibits in the Dinosaur Discovery Gallery as well as its popular educational and outreach programs. The current gallery and gift shop space is 2,000 square feet, which will increase to 5,500 square feet. The move would also greatly increase the space for palaeontological collections, something which is sorely needed after several years of successful field collection of fossil specimens. PRPRC palaeontologists have indicated that space is growing very dear in the current location. They speculated that if the coming summer’s field work is anywhere near as successful as previous years, there may be no more room for further collecting.

The TRMF and the District of Tumbler Ridge have been in close cooperation over the past year to determine the best strategies to advance the goal of establishing a regional / provincial palaeontology museum of international importance. The formation of the Museum Development Committee in 2007 was a major step towards this goal. The Claude Galibois option was first presented at a Museum Development Committee meeting shortly after that property had been advertised for sale by School District.

The TRMF proposes to utilize the Claude Galibois building for ten years during which time they will be working hard to realize the goal of a purpose-built regional/provincial museum in Tumbler Ridge. In the meantime the museum’s use of the Claude Galibois property will allow the TRMF and its partners to continue to develop and expand the research, education and tourism capabilities of the museum. Establishing an interim larger, more professional museum in this way may help convince the Federal and Provincial Governments and potential funding organizations that a much larger, purpose-built facility is justified.

As a happy bi-product, the success of the primarily palaeontology-themed museum project will also draw further attention to the TRMF’s other themes of Natural History, Archaeology & First Nations & Pioneer History, and Town & Industry.

Blair Lekstrom, MLA for Peace River South, sent a letter of congratulations to the District of Tumbler Ridge and the TRMF on this “excellent agreement”, predicting that “its benefits will multiply over the years as the TRMF continues its outstanding palaeontological research work.”

Dr Jim Haggart, Chair of the British Columbia Paleontology Alliance, summed up the prevailing mood, saying, “What a wonderful development for the Tumbler Ridge region and for paleontology in British Columbia! With the wealth of new palaeontological discoveries that continue to come out of the northeast British Columbia region, the expanded facility will provide a showcase opportunity to present these materials in enhanced educational displays. Given the growing interest of the general BC populace in the palaeontological history of the province, as well as the interest of the international community, it is to be expected that Tumbler Ridge will increasingly be viewed as a ‘must-see’ palaeo destination! The new facility can only help ensure that this perspective becomes more widely established.”

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