An enthusiastic crowd of 150 gathered for the long-anticipated opening of new museum exhibits in the Tumbler Ridge Community Centre on Thursday November 26th at noon. The exhibits, developed by the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation, were funded by the Women, Seniors and Elders Project of the BC150 celebrations, in partnership with the BC Museums Association and the District of Tumbler Ridge.
One exhibit celebrates the remarkable art of Euphemia “Betty” McNaught, likely the most famous artist the Peace Region has produced. Reproductions of twenty four of her pioneering paintings in British Columbia grace one well-lit wall, along with text paneles and photographs of her from childhood to her later years. Betty McNaught lived to be 100, and her art spanned almost the whole twentieth century; she trained in Ontario where her style was influenced by members of the Group of Seven, and settled in Beaverlodge, where she became an inspiration and living legend.
The second celebrates Janet Hartford, the esteemed “Matriarch of Tumbler Ridge”, who has done so much for the community since its inception 27 years ago. In addition to the unveiling of text panels and photographs that detail her remarkable life and volunteerism, a specially commissioned painting of Janet by renowned local artist Joan Zimmer was unveiled by Mayor-Elect Larry White. One of Janet and her husband George’s most cherished contributions to Tumbler Ridge was the creation of the Indoor Playground, so it was most appropriate that this magnificent portrait of Janet directly overlooks this forever busy destination for kids in town.
The joyous ceremony began with a remarkable unveiling by another immensely talented Tumbler Ridge artist, Rita Henderson. “Ancient pathways – The Hunters” (oil on wood) is an 8’ x 4’ mural depicting a First Nations mountain scene in the Tumbler Ridge area from 5000 years ago. This superb work of art completes another Museum Foundation exhibit in the Community Centre, also funded by BC150.
Messages of congratulations were read out from MP Jay Hill, MLA Blair Lekstrom, and from the McNaught Homestead Preservation Society and Beaverlodge and Area Cultural Society. To complete the festivities, Mark Wilfur of Talisman Energy was on hand to present a much appreciated cheque to the Museum Foundation for its ongoing palaeontology projects, the development of the new Dinosaur Discovery Gallery, and its educational programs.
Lunch followed, with those present enthralled by the art and exhibits on display, and appreciative of the opportunity to partake in the recognition of such special people. Thanks to the support of BC150, five permanent exhibits have been created in the Tumbler Ridge Community centre, and together these enhancements provide a unique celebration of heritage for residents and visitors alike.