A special thank you to everyone that came out to our annual general meeting (AGM) held last Wednesday, June 13 to reflect on 2017.
Last year marked the 30th anniversary of the Whistler Museum & Archives Society, and it was our busiest year on record.
The museum's story begins when early pioneer Myrtle Philip and Cypress Lodge owner Dick Fairhurst confessed to Florence Petersen, a retired school teacher who started coming to the valley in 1955, their worry that Whistler's early days would soon be forgotten. Florence eased their fears by promising them that their stories would be remembered and, true to her word, Florence founded the Whistler Museum & Archives as a charitable non-profit society.
Since incorporating on Feb. 12, 1987, the museum's basic function has been to collect and preserve the history of the Whistler Valley and to display and disseminate information about Whistler's history and its role in the greater society of British Columbia and Canada.
Last year was the busiest year in the museum's history in terms of exhibit visits, with a 7.6-per-cent growth over 2016 (another record year). During this period, the museum started developing temporary exhibits using our programming space in the rear of the museum.
Temporary exhibits we developed in 2017 include Mountaineering in the Coast Mountains; Collecting Chili Thom; Whistler Question: A Photographic History 1978-1985; The Evolution of Ski Film Technology; and People of Whistler with Eric Poulin.
We had another strong year for our events and programming. Programs included favourites like our Valley of Dreams walking tours (June through August), Speaker Series events, Mountain Bike Heritage Week, Nature 101 seminars, multiple children's crafts events, our annual LEGO competitions, and school field trip visits.
We also expanded our Discover Nature program in Lost Lake to include an additional day. Discover Nature featured a manned booth in Lost Lake Park all summer, with interactive natural history displays and scheduled interpretive nature walks.
Visitor numbers have continued to increase through the first half of 2018, and we hope that trend will persist through what is sure to be a busy summer. Still to come are more temporary exhibits and programs for children and adults, and planning continues for a new facility in the coming years.
Having limited physical space for our exhibits, we have to rely heavily on our web presence, social media, and this very column to help share Whistler's narratives. We plan on using these platforms to keep sharing stories, and we hope you all enjoy reading them as much as we enjoy researching and writing them.
A big thank you to everyone who has visited our exhibits, attended our events, read our stories, and otherwise helped spread the word about Whistler's fascinating heritage.