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Museum launches Glacier Exhibit, shuns superstition

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On a day when many people make a point to avoid black cats and broken mirrors, the Whistler museum will be celebrating its 17 th birthday with a "white party" and a new exhibition.

On Friday the 13th the Whistler museum will launch the "Frozen Time; Glaciers in the Coastal Mountains" exhibit, which will be closely followed by an invitation-only "white" birthday party.

The museum intends to include the public in the celebrations by handing out free cake to any patrons who visit the exhibition on Thursday for a sneak preview.

The exhibition’s "white" theme is intended to reflect the importance of snow in Whistler, but it is also a light-hearted attempt at reducing the effects of Paraskevidekatriaphobia, which is the medical term for people who have a fear of Friday the 13th.

Museum curator Kerry Clark confirmed that the white theme on black Friday was just a convenient coincidence.

"The white theme of this latest exhibit reflects the community’s major winter preoccupation with the white stuff, which includes snow, glaciers and snowflakes," Clark said.

"Launching the exhibit on Black Friday is really a coincidence, but it ties in well with the museum’s birthday on Thursday."

The exhibit will feature glaciers and an explanation of their importance in our natural eco-system with technical data from the David Suzuki Foundation’s research project, Melting Mountains.

A snapshot of this data reveals that fewer opportunities to ski dry powder snow could be a sign that winter temperatures are rising.

Data from the Suzuki foundation will also feature details on:

• Increased winter precipitation with a greater proportion of rain versus snow;

• Rising snowlines: including a deeper, wetter snow-pack at higher elevations;

• Snow-pack building later in the winter and melting sooner;

• Satellite data, which proves that in the Northern Hemisphere, the extent of snow cover has decreased by about 10 per cent since the late 1960s.

Images from the museum’s pioneer photograph collection will also be included in the exhibition as well as photographs from local glacier enthusiast Terri Nash and mountaineering equipment on loan from the Alpine Club of Canada.

Visitors should expect to learn about glacier terminology, the history and location of local glaciers and the implications of global warming.

The exhibition opens to the public on Thursday, and can be viewed between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Thursday to Sunday, at the museum.

A satellite exhibition on Snowflakes, featuring stunning photography of snow crystals, will be hosted simultaneously at Millennium Place.

And the Crystal Lodge will also be hosting a small exhibition on the history of skiing.

The exhibit launch is part of Celebration 2010 – the Whistler Arts Showcase 2004.

It has been made possible by funding provided for the Arts Showcase by the Resort Municipality of Whistler and the province of British Columbia.

The Whistler Museum’s next major exhibit is in August and will be titled "Whistler: Through the Eyes of the Community".

This exhibition is intended to showcase the photographic talent of various Whistlerites as they aim to explore the public’s different experiences in Whistler.

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