Museum Exhibits Light Up Community Centre
North Peace Historical Society President Larry Evans presents Carolyn Golightly, TRMF President, with a gift basket of books at the grand opening of the TRMF exhibits on July 3, 2003.
July 8, 2003

On Thursday, July 3 at 7 pm, the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation’s first exhibits were unveiled and with the flick of a switch, Mayor Clay Iles illuminated the cabinets that now house various specimens of coal, plant fossils and dinosaur footprints, and other items of interest.

TRMF President Carolyn Golightly welcomed a crowd of about 60 and introduced Kathleen O’Neill, regional coordinator for the Royal BC Museum’s "Living Landscapes: Peace River – Northern Rockies" initiative. Ms. O’Neill conveyed best wishes on behalf of Royal BC Museum CEO Pauline Rafferty and Living Landscapes manager Brian Apland, who sent congratulations by way of a letter "to British Columbia’s newest museum, from its oldest, the Royal BC Museum."

Mayor Iles was called upon to officially open the exhibits. In his speech he applauded Dr. Charles Helm, Vice President of the TRMF, for his passion and lifestyle, without which the tremendous dinosaur heritage of Tumbler Ridge might never have been discovered. He commended the efforts of the Museum, the publicity and the increased awareness about Tumbler Ridge’s beauty and heritage, and its potential to be a quality tourist destination.

One of the guests who traveled to Tumbler Ridge for the ceremony was Larry Evans, former Fort St. John Fire Chief and current President of the North Peace Historical Society. Evans made a brief congratulatory speech, in which he indicated his pleasure in being able to return the "face carving" to Tumbler Ridge. The face carving is a unique piece of wood - thought to have been a grave marker - that languished many years in Simon Fraser University and the Fort St. John Museum. Evans also presented the TRMF with a gift basket containing books to augment the museum’s collection.

Dr. Helm then introduced the main themes of the future Tumbler Ridge Museum and Dinosaur Centre, which are dinosaurs and fossils, coal and the creation of Tumbler Ridge, pioneer history, and natural history. He thanked the many volunteers who contributed time and or resources to the creation of the exhibits and especially recognized Mayor and Council for their support and commitment to the vision of a museum.

The museum’s palaeontology team, including Rich McCrea, Lisa Buckley and Marisa Gilbert, was introduced and made available to answer questions about this summer’s main projects: Dino Camps and B.C.’s first dinosaur excavation. Earlier in the day, McCrea led a VIP tour to the excavation site for folks from Living Landscapes, NRAHTA and Tourism Dawson Creek.

Following the exhibit ceremony, the crowd moved into the library for refreshments and slide show by Larry White, detailing his month-long training session at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Alberta.

The creation of the Tumbler Ridge Museum and Dinosaur Centre may still be a few years away, but the opening of these fascinating interim exhibits is seen as a significant step in the realization of this dream.

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