Just over a year ago we announced that we had begun digitizing negatives from The Whistler Question’s archival collection (read more here). Since then, the staff at the Whistler Museum has been busy cataloguing and scanning nearly 35,000 photographs from 1978 to 1985. As of today, we have reached the final stretch and are nearing the completion of this digitization project!
The photographs were originally donated to the museum in 1991 and have gone through an extensive cataloguing and preservation process before they could be scanned and shared with the public. This digitization project has also been generously funded by the UBC Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.
As this project comes to a close, we want to celebrate these photos by sharing them with everyone, both online as they are uploaded to our photo-hosting website, SmugMug, as well as on display in the museum. We will be opening a new exhibit, The Whistler Question: A Photographic History 1978-1985, featuring a selection of some of our favourite photographs from the collection.
Speaking as the Collections Coordinator at the museum, assisting in the creation of this exhibit has been one of the highlights for me this summer. Coming to Whistler as a visual arts student from UBC, I have always had a strong interest in photographs and the stories that they tell. Being able to go through these pictures has given me the chance to get a glimpse of the unique culture Whistler had during the late 70s and 80s.
These snapshots of various people and happenings document Whistler during a time of rapid change. Events such as the construction of the Whistler Village and the opening of Blackcomb show Whistler growing into the world class resort that it is today. But there are also photos of the local community, bar events, school plays and road accidents, which express the vibrant and unique vitality of the people living in this mountain town.
In the exhibit itself, I wanted to display these images in a way that would convey a sense of the overwhelming number of photographs whilst respecting the integrity of the photographs themselves.
For some, these photos will spark a sense of nostalgia of the memories that were captured; for others, these photos act as a window to the past of what this town once was.
With these documentary photographs of our town during a pivotal time, this September The Whistler Question: A Photographic History 1978-1985 invites the public to experience a Whistler that is long gone, but not forgotten.
By Lauren Smart. Lauren is the Whistler Museum’s Collections Coordinator this summer. She is a visual arts student at UBC and will be returning in the fall to continue her studies.