B.C. Heritage Week 2022: Altogether Inclusive
Heritage Week is here and running from February 21st - 27th! We’ll be engaging with this year’s theme, Altogether Inclusive, by highlighting the ways in which this applies to our unique site with various examples past and present.
Ensuring Britannia Mine Museum is accessible for all
Starting off, in combination with Family Day earlier this week, we want to take a moment to recognize that families are our core visitor group, and that through simple steps we can provide an engaging and accessible experience for all.
At the museum, we offer tours, exhibits and programs that can be enjoyed by families together. Our team is always working to provide the best experience for our guests, and they are attentive and accommodating to the changing needs of family groups to ensure a positive experience for everyone.
Before heading underground, our Historical Interpreters ensure that families are given hard hats and made aware of the ‘Health and Safety’ procedures, and how to prepare for the ‘Loud Noises’. Once underground the interpreters are consistently monitoring the tour group and will check in with families on an ongoing basis. If needed, families can exit the tunnel at any time.
Our site has open outdoor areas for play and snack breaks, accessible washrooms with changing facilities, and the ever-entertaining ‘Gold Panning’ for our future prospectors to explore. Families have always been an important part of the Britannia story, beginning with the founding company supporting and encouraging families to make their homes here in the community. To help make the town welcoming to families, they provided housing, opened a schoolhouse, and offered a range of recreation activities, sports and clubs.
Thank you to all our family visitors and all the families that made Britannia their home in the past, present and future.
Recognizing barriers and access to opportunity
Through examples found in a museum’s collections and archives, we are able to learn how people in the past worked to overcome barriers that stopped them from accessing opportunities and how that impacted their lives. With this year’s Heritage Week theme of altogether inclusive, an example that is worth highlighting is the changing acceptance of women within the workforce in mining. In the past, a career in mining was not accessible to women because it was illegal to employ them underground up until 1978.
Within our archives, we located a letter from 1974, which is a request for permission to employ a female geologist, Catherine Taylor Aimone at the mine for just one day per month. Seeing this example allows us to reflect on how things have changed for women in mining. Women now make up 12% of the workforce in Canada (The Mining Association of Canada, 2020) and many mining companies have introduced policies that support diversity and inclusion within the workforce.
Small steps make a big difference
As a team, we are constantly working to improve the guest experience for all of our visitors. Over the past year we have implemented the following:
We've implemented these measures based on feedback from our visitors and changes in best practices as we strive to ensure an inclusive and accessible experience for all.
Copper is a very special material. It was the first metal that people shaped into tools, has played a vital role in the development of civilisation, and its remarkable qualities make it important in both electronics and medicine: "When a virus or bacteria lands on copper," Diane writes, "the copper releases electrically charged particles which blast apart the cell membrane..." Now that is a metal we'd all do well to study.
During its years of operation, some 650,000 tons of copper were extracted from ore at the Britannia Mine.