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Sea to Sky's Britannia Mine Museum launches new summer exhibit

'More than a Mine: Recreation in a Mining Town,' which looks at how miners and their families spent their leisure time, runs from May 20 to Sept. 5.

Did you know Wednesday, May 18, is International Museum Day?

It is an opportunity to stop and consider our local museum's cultural and historical value. 

This year, the global theme of the day is "the power of museums."

"As incomparable places of discovery, they teach us about our past and open our minds to new ideas — two essential steps in building a better future," according to the International Council of Museums.

The Sea to Sky's Britannia Mine Museum is launching a new summer exhibit, which fits that description. 

The exhibit looks back at how Britannia residents enjoyed their recreational life during the mining days and how social gatherings helped strengthen and build the resiliency of the remote mining town.

The "More than a Mine: Recreation in a Mining Town" exhibit runs from May 20 to Sept. 5.

According to a news release, the exhibit recalls what recreational life was like at the two mining communities, Mount Sheer Townsite and Britannia Beach. 

The exhibit showcases previously unseen objects, photographs, and films highlighting the "wholesome," unique community culture and traditions that strengthened the remote towns and made Britannia home for many.

"Reflecting on the past two years, we felt it was important to look back at how the Britannia residents kept up their active community life in isolation," said Laura Minta Holland, curator of collections and engagement at the Britannia Mine Museum. "The Britannia residents created family-friendly environments where the community celebrated and supported each other, which built and strengthened their sense of community."

About 60,000 people from over 50 different countries lived and worked at the Britannia copper mine between 1904 and 1974. The community was isolated from the rest of the world, being only accessible by boat.

Therefore, the mining company tried to keep miners happy by supplying recreational facilities and events for workers and their families. Facilities included libraries, a movie theatre, club rooms, billiard rooms, tennis courts, a bowling alley and even a heated swimming pool.

"More than a Mine: Recreation in a Mining Town" is available via general Britannia Mine admission tickets and annual memberships, which are available online at www.britanniaminemuseum.ca.