Tumbler Ridge Museum volunteer archivist Crys White was recognized for her dedication to preserving local history as part of BC Museums Week 2023, held every year from May 14 to 20.
An article recognizing White’s archival work was featured on the BC Museums Association’s website earlier this month, detailing her time as a board member of the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation.
White’s lived in Tumbler Ridge since 2001, moving from Victoria to enjoy both the scenery and affordable cost of living.
“I’ve been a member of the museum since the beginning, I’ve been on and off the board numerous times. They needed an archivist and I said that I was interested in taking charge of that,” said White. “I know I’m called an archivist, but it’s really just collections, documenting and itemizing, and putting everything in order.”
After taking a week-long archival course in Calgary, White began volunteering her time two days a week, archiving everything from old newspapers, to a large number of photographs, and various documents related to the town’s social clubs, mining industry, and pre-industry history.
The work has always been about a passion for details, said White.
“It’s really fascinating, because it’s Tumbler Ridge before its inception, all the studies for coal mining, and then all the firsts - the first babies born, first this, first that. The beginnings of the town, and some of the pioneers of the town before it was a town,” said White.
White added that the museum would greatly benefit from further archival work, to better adhere to Canadian archival principles. Many of the materials first sorted by White took over a year to be properly placed.
“It was in garbage bags and shoe boxes, it was hither, thither, and yon all over town,” said White. “And so, I sort of started just with the coal, and then the photos, and went from there.”
Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation Executive Director Zena Conlin says White has been an integral part of the museum.
“She’s been absolutely integral keeping the archives going here, she’s one of our superstar volunteers,” said Conlin.
Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News, Local Journalism Initiative. Have a story idea or opinion? Email email@example.com