Barkerville now has enduring storage solutions thanks to the barn-raising efforts of the Department of Canadian Heritage, Rotary Club of Prince George and many more

One of the happy burdens of being Western North America’s largest Historic Site involves finding adequate storage solutions for nearly 200,000 artifacts and other pieces of gold rush ephemera that have been collected and catalogued by the curatorial team at Barkerville Historic Town since its Provincial heritage designation in 1958. Over the past 56 years Barkerville has managed the seemingly impossible feat of keeping an irreplaceable assortment of 19th and early-20th century antiques safe and secure creativity and cost-effectively throughout summer and winter seasons that can see temperatures range from 35 degrees to minus-40 degrees Celsius in a few short months. Despite fluctuations in heat and cold, however, it’s really the relative changes in humidity faced by heritage buildings in a sub-alpine location that has the potential to wreak havoc on the more sensitive items in Barkerville’s collection.

In 2012, as part of the National Historic Site’s 150th anniversary legacy celebrations, Barkerville began implementing a plan to solve its humidity concerns by spearheading the Barkerville Reserve Collection Storage Campaign. The project, which eventually saw the retrofitting of two sizeable early-20th century structures on Barkerville’s back street – the Lowhee and Butterfield Barns – with newly installed, museum-quality roll-away shelving units and a humidistatically-controlled heating system ideal for Barkerville’s mountainous climate, would require the financial support and in-kind contributions of key National, Provincial, and local stakeholders who understood the importance of Barkerville’s unique museological situation. Thankfully, project partners were keen to help once the campaign was underway, and “Phase Two” of the Barkerville Reserve Collection Storage Campaign has now reached an important milestone.

On Saturday, September 6th, 2014 a group consisting of the Board of Directors of the Barkerville Heritage Trust, representatives of a number of campaign donors and sponsors, members of Barkerville’s summer interpretive staff, and interested visitors to the site gathered in front of “The Barns” to celebrate the official opening of the new Barkerville Reserve Collection Storage facility, and bring words of encouragement from several of the project’s key Phase Two supporters.

“The Historic Town of Barkerville is a treasured heritage site and an economic generator for the Cariboo Region,” said Dick Harris, Member of Parliament for Cariboo-Prince George.  “This project will ensure long-term preservation and protection of valued artifacts.”

“The Barkerville Heritage Trust continues to provide the highest standard of care to the buildings, artifacts and collections in this living history museum, and I am thrilled to see our Government’s support for this project,” Harris added.

In addition to funding provided by the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Canada Cultural Spaces Fund, an important Phase Two contribution was also made by the Rotary Club of Prince George.

“The Rotary Club of Prince George is pleased to be able to assist the Barkerville Heritage Trust by donating $10,000 to their Reserve Collections Storage Campaign for the Butterfield and Lowhee Barns Storage Project,” said Rotary representative Chris Calder. “The Rotary Club of Prince George believes that Barkerville Historic Town is a great educational and historical attraction in the area and we are happy that our support helps to preserve and improve Barkerville for future generations to enjoy.”

The Department of Canadian Heritage and the Rotary Club of Prince George (both of which provided first-time gifts to Barkerville) were joined in recognition by Barkerville Reserve Collection Storage Phase One and Two donors C & C Wood Products Ltd., Canadian Forest Products Ltd., Carrier Lumber Ltd., Dunkley Lumber Ltd., the Jackman Foundation, John & Hazel Massier (Woodlot 1406), the Province of British Columbia, the Quesnel Woodlot Association, the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George, West Fraser, and Williams Creek Gold Limited.

For more information about the Barkerville Reserve Collection Storage, or any of Barkerville’s ongoing fundraising efforts, please contact Crystal Bunting, Development Coordinator at crystal.bunting@barkerville.ca, or visit www.barkerville.ca/proudsupporters.htm.

Barkerville Heritage Trust Board with Reserve Collection Storage Donors