North

'Scores and scores' of artifacts to come out of storage with Dawson City Museum overhaul

One goal of the four-year project is to provide visitors with a richer picture of the town's history and heritage, beyond the Klondike gold rush.

'A lot of the acquisitions over the last 30 years have never been on display,' says executive director

Dawson City Museum executive director Alex Somerville with some artifacts once owned by former Yukon Commissioner and MP George Black, and now in storage at the museum. Renovations will allow the museum to have more items on public display. (Dawson City Museum)

The Dawson City Museum in Yukon is about to get an overhaul that will allow new exhibits, displaying artifacts only ever held in storage.

It will be the museum's first major renovation in about three decades.

"Because our displays change very little, a lot of the acquisitions over the last 30 years have never been on display," said Alex Somerville, the museum's executive director.

"There are scores and scores — hundreds, even — of artifacts, many of which, the best ones, are closely connected with some personality in the history of Dawson, and the history of the Klondike." 

The four-year renovation project is expected to be complete by 2021, when the town will mark the 125th anniversary of the discovery of gold in the Klondike. (Dawson City Museum)

Somerville says the museum's "renewal project" will involve renovations to improve "spatial inefficiencies" in the layout of the building to allow room for more exhibits. The work will also expand the main floor reading room, where the public can study materials held by the museum.

When the work is complete, the museum will also be open year-round. Right now, it is closed for most of the winter.

One goal of the renovation work, and the new exhibits, will be to provide visitors with a richer picture of Dawson City's history and heritage, beyond the Klondike gold rush.

A richer picture

"We have a lot of space devoted in the museum today to late-19th century stories, and very early-20th century stories. And the new exhibits will share more of the stories from the 20th century in Dawson — up to the late 1980s, early 1990s."

Newer exhibits will focus on the town's historic Jewish and black communities, and offer more insight into Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in heritage and culture.

The museum is hoping to tap into federal funding to pay for the work.

The goal is to have it complete by 2021, when the town will mark the 125th anniversary of the discovery of gold in the Klondike. 

Another piece of Dawson City history, waiting to go on display at the museum - the town's first working neon sign. (Dawson City Museum)

With files from Mike Rudyk

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversationCreate account

Already have an account?

now