One of the colouring pages for the Bulkley Valley Museum’s colouring contest is J. Mason Adam’s Drugstore from an archival photo taken in 1913. (BV Museum)

Museum sees uptick in online visitors

Staff adds new features and plans more web programs

Although currently physically closed to the public, the Bulkley Valley Museum (BVM) is still virtually accessible.

That is because the museum has had its archives online for three years. It contains more than 8,000 archival and museum catalogue records.

Curator Kira Westby said she has seen an uptick in online traffic, both on the portal and their social media platforms since the COVID-19 pandemic kicked into high gear in B.C.

They’ve also added some new features to the website and are planning more.

“We’re continuing to find ways to share with the community because when this is all over and we make our funding applications to various places for next year, we’re going to have to need to be able to say what we did during this time,” she said. “So, we’re trying to get creative, but it takes a little time to rethink.”

One of the new things they have added is called “Imagine the Past: In colour.”

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Museum staff found an online tool called “MyHeritage In Colour” which allows users to colourize old black and white photos.

They have done so with some of their archive photos and are encouraging visitors to try it out and send them the results. The program uses an algorithm to approximate what the image would have looked like in colour.

The museum also has a physical colouring contest on the go.

“With the Museum temporarily closed to the public to help stop the spread of Covid-19, we’re missing our kid visitors and the colourful drawings they create as part of our Museum Scavenger Hunt,” it says on the colouring contest page. “So, we’ve decided to join the colouring page trend!”

Staff created four colouring pages from archival photos that can be downloaded. They are encouraging people of all ages to colour them, scan or take a picture of them and return them to the museum via email.

The winner, who will be randomly chosen from entries received for kids 13 and under only, will receive a $25 gift certificate from the Big Smiles kids store.

Another upcoming project will bring some of their education programs to the web.

“There’s one we do where we teach kids the old train lantern signals,” Westby said. “We’re going to make a video showing them how to make a paper lantern at home and then show them what the signals are. It’s one we usually do with K to Grade three age kids.”

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