Whistler Museum celebrating in cyberspace 

Tuesday, May 18 is International Museum Day and the Whistler Museum...

Tuesday, May 18 is International Museum Day and the Whistler Museum would like to mark the occasion by turning your attention to online incarnation www.whistlermuseum.org.

The site is receiving a general revamping and will include a new online photo reproduction service and a media room. The photo service will greatly streamline the process of acquiring archival prints by allowing interested parties to select and order online.

The museum’s decision to focus on Web developments is due in part to innovation and in part to necessity.

Insufficient space in the portable trailer facility located just off of Main Street greatly limits the number and types of tangible exhibits the museum can host. The situation has consequently inspired a shift in focus toward preserving Whistler’s "intangible heritage" – non-material evidence of the past, including practices, stories, ideas, knowledge and skills.

"The new Web site is much more navigable and invites interaction," curator Kerry Clark said in a written statement. "Our role at the Whistler Museum is to be the caretakers of the Whistler story, and this is one of the tools we have so we wanted to make the most of it."

Though driven by necessity, the shift has put Whistler at the forefront of a world-wide movement. World Museum Day marks the start of what officials have designated the Year of Museums and Intangible Heritage.

Putting more and more of Whistler’s intangible heritage on the Web opens the museum’s doors to people all over the world, including other museums, and carries the potential for a world of tangible exhibit collaborations.

One such collaboration is already in motion. The current collection of vintage ski posters on display at the Whistler Museum is on loan from the National Museum of the Mountains in Torino, Italy. Whistler will reciprocate with Torino’s upcoming exhibit on the Canadian gold rush.

Obviously, with their alpine locations and upcoming Olympic Winter Games the two locales have much in common.

"The Internet has downsized the distance between people," noted Whistler Museum programming co-ordinator Jimi Galvao. "It’s very easy for us to communicate with Torino and vice versa.

"The Internet provides a really good method for creating exhibits and other projects that can reach a wider audience, especially with smaller museums that are challenged by physical space such as ours, and we’re by no means the only museum that faces this problem," Galvao added. "By being able to reach out on the Internet it’s not necessarily about the physical space anymore."

Along with the re-tooled Web site and the vintage Italian ski poster exhibit, the museum is currently hosting local researcher Michael Allen’s Whistler Black Bear Project exhibit and has plans for a future collaborative exhibit with the Alpine Club of Canada.

The Whistler Museum is open to the public Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Fridays to Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information call 604-932-2019 or go to www.whistlermuseum.org.

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