Development of a “Cranbrook Museum” continues at CMRT

Cranbrook acting mayor Angus Davis presents a signed proclamation for International Museums Day at the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel to the museum’s board vice chair, Corinne Friesen, and chair, Bob Bennison (from left).   - Kerstin Renner
Cranbrook acting mayor Angus Davis presents a signed proclamation for International Museums Day at the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel to the museum’s board vice chair, Corinne Friesen, and chair, Bob Bennison (from left).
— image credit: Kerstin Renner

International Museums Day to be proclaimed at Museum in new Cranbrook History Gallery on May 18 by Acting Mayor Davis -

The Cranbrook Archives, Museum and Landmark Foundation has taken a big step forward in it’s continuing development of a “Museum about Cranbrook” in part of the large facilities of the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel, and provided and update for City Council at their meeting of May 9.

On behalf of City Council, Acting Mayor, Angus Davis helped proclaim “International Museum Day” on May 18 at the museum to note the international aspects of the Museum’s historic trains, and to commemorate the new aspects of local Cranbrook history being displayed in part of the large facilities.

The development of this Gallery started in 2005 for the City Centennial, although collecting of Cranbrook historical material began in 1976 for the Cranbrook Archives, which is also overseen by the Foundation.

The Gallery is the current focus of local history development, and was recently completed for a new School Program that began the first week of May that is designed specifically with a Cranbrook history focus. The testing of this program is being done during May to prepare material for the permanent program, expected to begun this fall to be offered over the winter months.

The tours of the Historic Trains for schools have also been re-developed at the same time to provide two separate, but complimentary, local educational programs. The Museum will be able to offer these two programs over the winter from October to May each year, since it is independent of weather.

The Cranbrook History Gallery is a vital component of the Cranbrook Museum experience, and is aimed at both local and tourist audiences. It is located in the large facilities of the Railway Museum for reasons of efficiency of shared services, security, existing staff, and overlap with tourists.

The Gallery is open FREE at all times and is conveniently located just off the Entrance Hall on the lower level of the historic Freight Shed, and is handicapped accessible. Display development over the last few years has been assisted by some Columbia Basin Trust Heritage Programs and some Job Creation Partnerships, as well as with some of the Museums’ own funds.

Development of local history in a separate part of the railway museum facility is a major step to “marry” local and tourist expectations. Part of the facility will therefore be dedicated as a Cranbrook Cultural Centre for heritage and art, while the other part of the facility will continue to develop the Railway Museum, with it’s substantial earned tourist revenue representing new money into the community.

The Cranbrook History Gallery is a separate historical experience from the railway history presented by the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel and it has three components at this time:

1) The 2005 Centennial Quilt, which contains many iconic images representing historic values of early Cranbrook. This was designed and executed by the Cranbrook Quilting Club in 2005 to celebrate the City Incorporation Centennial that year.

2) The updated and expanded Cranbrook Heritage Tour Map ( titled “Explore Historic Cranbrook”), is a 7.5-foot wide x 5.5-foot High colour map containing 96 listings of historic places of interest. It is an expansion on earlier heritage tour maps that the Museum has produced over nearly 20 years and distributed to tens of thousands of locals and visitors since.

3) The recently-completed Historic Photo Collages on Early Cranbrook, contains 52 frames with over 180 images of the community and it’s early development Attached labels show more detail.

When the large Exhibition Galleries on the upper floor of this building can be completed, there will be a substantial expansion of Cranbrook history through temporary exhibitions on a wide variety of local themes, and there is also room for temporary exhibitions in local art as well.

Developing local history has only been made possible by the resources contained in the CRANBROOK HISTORICAL ARCHIVES, which actually started in 1976, a year before the Railway Museum construction began.

It now contains tens of thousands of items on local history and is the central historical resource that will develop all future Temporary Exhibitions on Cranbrook.

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