April 19, 2011
by Canadian Architect
The recently transformed Britannia Mine Museum has achieved yet another significant milestone in its treasured history, winning the 2011 Canadian Museum Association (CMA) Award for Outstanding Achievement in Facility Development and Design. The honour was received during the awards gala held recently at the CMA’s 64th annual national conference in London, Ontario.
The Britannia Mine Museum was unanimously recognized for excellence in function, vision, innovation and architecture. The CMA chose the Museum because of its national significance and ambitious vision in creating a destination museum in a considerably short time frame. Each year the CMA presents awards to celebrate and encourage excellence within the Canadian museum sector.
“This project has been the highlight of the century for us and it has been a remarkable journey for everyone on the team,” says Kirstin Clausen, executive director of the Britannia Mine Museum. “To be unanimously recognized and acknowledged by the Canadian museum sector gives us great pride and is a true testament of the hard work and dedication put forth by everyone involved.”
Located 10 minutes south of Squamish on the picturesque Sea-to-Sky highway, the Britannia Mine Museum was reinvented in 2010 by a $14.7-million three-phase redevelopment project that turned a mining legacy site into a vibrant internationally recognized tourist destination. Made possible by generous contributions from the mining industry, the provincial and federal governments and private donors, the redevelopment project focused on preserving the museum’s heritage buildings and mining collections, while creating an enhanced visitor experience with the new Beaty-Lundin Visitor Centre and the Britannia A-Z Exhibit Hall.
The Museum’s redevelopment and design approach was to keep as much of the heritage sites and salvage and reuse as much of the existing buildings and materials as possible. The diverse mixture of industrial buildings, rehabilitated structures, remnant structures and restored heritage buildings provide a connection to the storied Britannia community. Designers embraced the eclectic nature of existing materials while utilizing modern design structures to give the Museum’s facilities a sense of Modernist architecture while retaining its historic culture.
Connections with the environment and nature can be seen in the creative use of water, wood, stone and copper elements throughout the site. The new Visitor Centre is clad in a combination of dark-stained local Douglas Fir siding and pre-patinated blue-green copper panels made of recycled content, paying homage to the Britannia Mine’s copper mining days, when it was once the British Empire’s largest copper mine. The complete restoration of the A-Z Exhibit Hall and the creation of new interpretive displays showcase what life was like for the more than 60,000 people from over 50 countries who lived and worked in Britannia between 1904 to 1974.
The Britannia Mine Museum celebrates the contributions of mining and minerals to society, the history of the storied Britannia Beach community and the ideas and practices of environmental renewal and sustainability. It promotes mining awareness through entertaining, experiential education programs, important historic collection preservation and insightful public engagement about the environment and sustainability issues. The museum provides a unique blend of entertainment and information that allows guests to leave with a better understanding of mining in BC; past, present and future.
Partner organizations involved in the redevelopment of the Museum include AldrichPears Associates, TRB Architecture, David Jensen & Associates, Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg and Parkwood Construction Ltd. to name a few. In addition, the Beaty-Lundin Visitor Centre recently received a North American Copper Development Award from the Copper Development Association.
The Britannia Mine Museum is open seven days a week from 9:00am to 4:30pm and offers guided tours. Please visit www.britanniaminemuseum.ca for more information.
britannia mine museum