Our summer programs are up and running for July and August! You’ll find us at the Discover Nature tent at Lost Lake Park Tuesdays – Fridays, online for self-guided Nature Walking Tours around Lost Lake, leading Valley of Dreams Walking Tours through the Village daily, and being crafty in Florence Petersen Park each Wednesday! Find more information about summer programs here.
The year 2021 was one of fluctuation for the Whistler Museum. With a few COVID restrictions on occupancy and mask mandates, we were able to keep our exhibits open to the public six days a week throughout the year.
Over the course of 2021, the museum welcomed 6,513 exhibit visitors. This is an increase of 28 per cent over 2020, but still down 55 per cent over pre-COVID numbers in 2019. In addition to exhibit visits, we also held several events and programs online and outside the museum, which attracted approximately 13,232 people. In total, the museum provided direct services to approximately 19,745 individuals. We also had increased traffic and interactions throughout 2021 on our social media accounts including Instagram, YouTube, and our online Whistorical blog.
Our popular Speakers Series was delivered completely online in 2021. These events shifted from in-person events held at the museum to 20-minute mini-documentaries that were streamed live to an online audience and followed by a Q&A with the speakers. The first of these was with Dean Nelson, a longtime organizer of the Whistler Pride and Ski Festival, exploring the history and evolution of Pride in Whistler, including Pride House during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the first such LGBTQ+ space at an Olympic Games. Our next discussion was on the history of journalism and publishing in Whistler and featured speakers Paul Burrows (founder of the Whistler Question), Charlie Doyle (co-founder of the Whistler Answer), Bob Barnett (co-founder of Pique Newsmagazine), and Clare Ogilvie (then-editor of Pique Newsmagazine).
Our third Speaker Series event looked back at one of Whistler’s most endearing races, the Great Snow Earth Water Race that was held form 1975 to the mid 1990s. Race organizer Bryan Walhovd was accompanied by race participants from the first year of the race including Trudy Alder, Nancy Greene Raine, and Joe Csizmazia. Recordings of these Virtual Speaker Series events can be found on the museum’s YouTube Channel and on our social media platforms.
As we were not able to host many of our in-person family programs, we also adapted these to be delivered remotely. Our popular Crafts in the Park program continued as a video series and was developed by our summer programming student. Each video explored an aspect of Whistler’s history and was accompanied by a craft that families could complete at home. This program was presented in partnership with the Whistler Public Library.
Developed at the end of 2020, our Kids Après Activity Booklet was designed to replace our in-person Kids Après program. This activity booklet features colouring pages, mazes, crosswords, and various other activities. The 20-page booklet is still available (for free!) at the Whistler Museum. This program was made possible with funding from the Province of British Columbia.
In terms of in-person programs, we were grateful to be able to offer our long-running Heritage Walking Tours through Whistler Village (June through September), and our Discover Nature program at Lost Lake Park (July through August). These ongoing programs are staples of our ever-expanding program lineup; they contribute to community and visitor outreach and education that are essential to our mandate.
We are currently developing our program schedule for 2022. We hope to see the return of our Mountain Bike Heritage Week in 2022, as we have been unable to produce it over the last two years. More details on these programs will be available in the coming weeks.
I would like to take a moment to thank our funders and supporters: the Resort Municipality of Whistler; the Province of British Columbia; the Community Foundation of Whistler; Canadian Heritage; British Columbia Museum Association; and our museum members for their continued support over the years.
I would also like to say a special thank you to everyone who has visited our exhibits, attended our events, read our Pique column, followed us on social media, and otherwise helped spread the word about Whistler’s fascinating people and history. Your support helped us make through a very challenging year!
On the Whistler Museum’s Valley of Dreams Walking Tour, you’ll uncover the history of Alta Lake’s fishing resorts, tales behind the mountain development on Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, and stories behind Whistler’s journey to the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. The tour is approximately one hour long and is for all ages. Walking Tours begin at 11 am daily in July, August & September. Meeting outside the Visitor Information Centre on Gateway Dr., these tours are offered by donation. Tour are limited to 10 participants.
Discover Nature at Lost Lake Park
This “pop up” museum explores Whistler’s unique natural history and includes visual displays& and on-site interpreters. Different themes and aspects of Whistler’s natural history are rotated and explored daily. Mondays through Fridays in July and August. 11 am – 5 pm.
*We plan to have “no touch” tables again this year, but will be focusing on visual interpretation
Crafts in the Park
Crafts in the Park is going virtual again this summer! The Whistler Museum and the Whistler Public Library are teaming up to present Crafts FROM the Park, offering a different craft every week from July 15 to August 26. Each Thursday we will share a video filmed in Florence Petersen Park to share a little about Whistler’s history and lead you through a craft project. You’ll find the video on our Facebook page and on our website here. Families can sign up to receive weekly craft supply packages (sign up here) and we will also share the craft supply list for each week Please note that these crafts may require some parental assistance.
Nature Walking Tour (Video Guided)
Our guided nature walking tours will be offered digitally this year! This online tour corresponds with numbered, designated locations along the Nature Trail that starts at Lost Lake PassivHaus and includes video and images related to Whistler’s rich natural history. Find more information here.
Over the past few weeks museum and other cultural organizations have begun to re-open around the province, many with new procedures in place and some with reduced hours and services. Locally the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre and the Audain Art Museum both reopened with reduced hours on Friday, June 26. Over here at the Whistler Museum, we’re taking things a little more slowly and officially reopened to the public on Wednesday, July 1.
We didn’t have any balloons but we have reopened! Whistler Museum Collection
Our reopening comes with a few changes, beginning with our operating hours. The museum will be open only six days a week and will be closed on Wednesdays (apart from July 1) for the foreseeable future, though we will continue to be open until 9pm on Thursdays. Visitors to the museum will also notice some physical changes to the space, with a barrier at the front desk and designated pathways through the exhibit area (we have also repainted some areas, which eagle-eyed visitors will notice are a slightly different shade of gray). You can find more information about changes in our protocols and procedures here.
Our summer programming will also be starting up in July. Walking tour season will begin July 1, with our Valley of Dreams Walking Tour, a historical tour through the Village, accepting up to ten participants at 11 am and the launch of a digital version of our guided nature walking tour. This online tour includes videos and images related to Whistler’s rich natural history that correspond to numbered locations along the Nature Trail starting at Lost Lake PassivHaus (more information can be found at whistlermuseum.org/naturewalk).
Discover Nature will look different this year, with “no touch” tables and much more distance between our interpreters and visitors.
This summer our popular Discover Nature program will rotate through different parks around town, bringing visual displays, “no touch” tables, and on-site interpreters to feature different themes and aspects of Whistler’s natural history Mondays through Fridays.
Crafts in the Park, a joint program with the Whistler Public Library, is going virtual this summer, with seven weeks of crafts brought to you from Florence Petersen Park. Each Saturday, beginning July 11, we will share a video filmed in the park to share a little about Whistler’s history and lead you through a craft project. Families can sign up with the Whistler Library to receive weekly craft supply packages and craft supply lists for each week will be shared online so everyone can participate.
We are also very excited to be able to announce that we will be presenting a virtual screening of Mike Stein’s film Highways of the Past:Canoeing the Grand Canyon of the Liard, with a Q&A session with Mike, on Tuesday, July 7. Participants must register for the event, as space is limited. Go to the Events page on our website to find out how to register.
Though the season will be different than we initially planned, we’re looking forward to a busy summer at the museum, both online and in person, and we are especially excited to welcome our members and friends again (a few at a time and from a safe distance)!