Temporary Exhibits



Throughout the month of December come see the Festival of Trees at the Museum at Campbell River!



June 22-November 9

The Last Stand (The Works of David Ellingsen)

This travelling exhibit features the work of photographer and artist David Ellingsen, whose family has roots on Cortes Island, BC.  For five generations David Ellingsen’s family has been involved in British Columbia’s historical evolution of colonial forestry, from old growth deforestation and clear cutting to contemporary environmentally conscious harvest practices.  Ellingsen’s consideration of these ancient remains, interwoven with his own personal history and familial responsibility, serves as a meditation of the contemporary disconnect between our commodity driven culture and our environment


March 15 - June 9, 2019

Ann Elmore Haig-Brown

Ann Elmore Haig-Brown was a remarkable woman. She made Campbell River her home from 1936 until her death in 1990, and made a significant impact on the development of the community.  She believed in community service and social justice, and spent her life quietly working towards bettering her community.  In 1988 the Ann Elmore Transition House was named in her honour.  Come learn more about the life of this influential woman and the organizations she helped to develop in Campbell River.

January 12 - February 17, 2019

Godfrey Baldwin's Campbellton

Take a look at the history of Campbellton as seen through the lens of local photographer Godfrey Baldwin.  Baldwin set up his photographic studio in his Campbellton home in 1948, and through his work at the local newspaper, and as one of the only professional photographers in town at that time, documented the community life and many changes taking place during the 1950s.


June 16-November 4, 2018

60: Collected Stories from the Museum at Campbell River


This collection of 60 artifacts, assembled in honour of the Museum's 60th Anniversary, highlights some of the most interesting and exciting stories preserved by the Museum.  Learn about how these items came to be preserved by the Museum and the stories they tell about our history.  Many of these stories are stories we haven't previously shared with the public.  Through these stories, the visitor can explore the Museum's journey over the past 60 years, from a small historical society with just two display cases to the architecturally-designed, award-winning, Museum at Campbell River.

See the Museum Shop about the book, of the same name, that was produced in conjunction with the exhibit.


March 10-May 6, 2018

150 Years and Counting: Fighting for Justice on the Coast


Indigenous Peoples, Asian Canadians, and their allies have been fighting for justice on British Columbia’s coast for the past 150 years. The European settlement of what would become ‘British Columbia’ was founded on the      dispossession of Indigenous Peoples and the exclusion of people of Asian heritage. This exhibit looks at the      courage of ordinary people who contributed to justice by resisting oppression and racist government policies.


This exhibit is the product of The University of Victoria’s Asian Canadians on Vancouver Island: Race, Indigeneity, and the Transpacific (ACVI) Project.

January 15-March 4, 2018

Life on the Spit: the Photographs of Elizabeth Quocksister


This exhibit showcases what life was like for the families living on the Campbell River Spit reserve during the period from the early 1940s up until the late 1960s.  The photographs were taken by local woman Elizabeth Quocksister and feature many people whose descendants are still living on the Reserve today. 

Please note, we are open for winter hours - Tuesday - Sunday noon to 5pm.

Festival of Trees

December 1 to 31, 2017

Come see the 2017 Festival or Trees throughout December in the Museum's Changing Gallery!


North Vancouver Island at War!

June 15, 2017 to November 12, 2017

The Museum at Campbell River’s new temporary exhibit, North Vancouver Island at War!, is now open to the public and receiving rave reviews from visitors.  The exhibit takes a closer look at what was happening on the North Island during the First and Second World Wars.  The focus is on local stories including the Gumboot Navy, the Fort at Yorke Island, the Alternative Service, and the internment of local Japanese-Canadians.  The exhibit is supplemented by a travelling exhibit from the Royal British Columbia Museum that highlights the First World War in British Columbia.

The Museum will be taking advantage of some of the great stories in this exhibit to host mini Facebook live Curator Talks with Beth Boyce.  Boyce, who is Curator for the Museum at Campbell River, has selected a few stories to speak about, “there are so many great local stories that we never learned about in school, the war was happening right here, not just on the European front.”  Scheduled for lunch time, so that people can tune in while they are on a break, these events add a new and interactive element to this exhibit.  On Wednesday, July 12 at 12:15pm her talk will be about the Soyokaze, the cod fishing vessel that forms a part of the Museum’s outdoor collections.  On Wednesday, July 19 at 12:15pm there will be a talk about the Gumboot Navy, and on Wednesday, July 26 at 12:15pm there will be a talk about Japanese Balloon Bombs.  To watch these talks “Like” the Museum at Campbell River’s Facebook Page and tune in on the date and time of the talks.

This exhibit is made possible in part by the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, a collaboration between the Campbell River Community Foundation, the Government of Canada, and extraordinary leaders from coast to coast.


Sybil Andrews in Campbell River

March 17, 2017 to May 28, 2017


Come this spring to see the museum’s collection of Sybil Andrews’ work.  These works depict familiar scenes in Campbell River, and document a specific point in time in this community.

Snapshots of Campbell River Through Time

January 13 to February 19, 2017

Explore Campbell River’s  history through vivid photographs from the Museum’s archives.  This exhibit features a photographic timeline of significant events in Campbell River’s history up to the present day.    


October 8, 2016 to November 14, 2016

“Nump ma noch gyai yoo lahss” is a Kwak'wala term that translates to “We all come from one root”.  This concept serves as the central theme of the exhibition of Kwakwakwk’wakw artist John Powell currently showing at the Museum at Campbell River.

John Powell was considered a family historian at the very young age of 18 months. His was frequently found under the kitchen table attentively listening to elders, a behavior first noted by his grandmother.  Powell’s ability to process and save the information he collected over the years is revealed in this show Nump ma noch gyai yoo lahss, (We all come from one root), a historical journey through Powell’s family lineage.  Powell’s work in this show represents his traditional First Nations background combined with a response to his cultural diversity. It is evident the work draws from a collective past, resides in a personal present and questions the future. 

Powell descends from two intriguing cultures: his mother was Mamalilikulla and Kwakiutl of Village Island and Fort Rupert.  His father was Welsh/Irish and English.  This diversity shows in Powell’s manipulation of traditional forms, where hints of his Celtic origins mix with his Mamalilikulla roots.  Powell’s unique approach to recording his family history shapes Nump ma noch gyai yoo lahss with a powerful biographical visual experience.

Powell considers himself primarily a designer, working across fashion, interior and graphic design.  Most of his art practice is textile based, having created the costumes for numerous theatre productions, the most recent being “The Ecstasy of Rita Joe” at Firehall Arts Centre in Vancouver.  Powell was co-costume designer for the Vancouver Opera Society’s rendition of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver.  Leading up to the 2010 Olympics Powell worked tirelessly as the Design Co-coordinator for the opening ceremonies welcome by four host First Nations’, Inuit and Metis peoples of Canada. 

Nump ma noch gyai yoo lahss was curated by Liz Carter and Ken Blackburn.


June 10 - September 8, 2016  

Not big, green monsters from outer space, but plants, animals and micro-organisms that came here with help from us humans!  Come see this travelling exhibit from the Royal BC Museum and find out what they look like, where they come from, and how they fit - or don't fit – in our environment. 


Suigyo no Majiwari: A Friendship of Trust and Faith

Ishikari, Japan and Campbell River: Celebrating a Sister City Relationship

March 18 — May 30, 2016

The History of the Campbell River Twinning Society is being examined through a new temporary exhibit.  The exhibition will focus on the amazing relationship developed through a ‘Sister City’ Program between Ishikari Japan, and Campbell River, Canada.  This program was established in 1983.  Artifacts exchanged between the two cities will provide an insight into the positive cultural understanding and respect fostered between Ishikari and Campbell River, a relationship best described by many in the Society as ‘family’.  Highlights will emphasise key occasions within the building process of  ‘Sister Cities’.

Logging Locomotives

January 15, 2016 - February 21, 2016

If you like to take a walk in the woods around Campbell River you have probably come across old railway grades, or even remnants of old trestles.  The Museum at Campbell River’s new temporary exhibit brings the time when those railways were built and in operation back to life.  Logging Locomotives is a photographic exhibit that features a selection of the Campbell River region’s more prominent logging camps, and their trusty steam engines.  From the comical tales of Lamb Lumber’s combined logging camp and farm operation, to the tragic wreckage of Bloedel, Stewart & Welch’s iconic Shay, this new exhibit explores some of the stories from the history of our logging industry.

Festival of Trees

This year the winners of the awards at Festival of Trees were:

People's Choice Award - Broadstreet Properties and seymour Pacific Developments

Most Unique Tree - Marine Harvest

Most Traditional Tree - Campbell River Arts Council Tree, supported by CIBC, Gourmet Essentials and La Tee Da Lingerie Boutique

Best of Festival - Life Labs Campbell River Patient Services Centre


Anne Frank: A History for Today

A travelling exhibition from the Anne Frank House (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)Photo Collection of the Anne Frank Stichting

It has travelled to more than 60 countries, and now the exhibition entitled “Anne Frank – A History for Today” will be arriving in Campbell River.  Anne Frank was a young Jewish girl who had to go into hiding during World War II in an attempt to escape the Nazis.  Her diary from that time remains a vivid record of the impacts of historical events on one person’s life.

Seventy years after her death, Anne Frank’s short life still resonates strongly with people, especially with youth.  This exhibit aims to create a dialogue with young people about topics such as the dangers of discrimination.  Local high school teacher Steve Joyce first approached the Museum about bringing this exhibit to Campbell River. “I was lucky to find in the Campbell River Museum the amazing support to bring Anne’s story to Campbell River” explains Joyce.  “The Museum has been able to connect it to our community through the stories of those who served in WWII fighting the very evil that created the Holocaust. The stories of Campbell River men who served, and in some cases paid the ultimate sacrifice, to liberate Europe will reside alongside Anne’s personal story”.

Local students from the Outdoor Adventure Program at Timberline Secondary will be trained as volunteer guides to explain the exhibit to their peers. Students have cited numerous benefits they hope to gain from their experience with this exhibit, ranging from gaining an in depth knowledge of this period in history, to increased confidence in public speaking.

The exhibit, which includes content on Canadian History during the Second World War, is presented in both English and French.  It is being shown in collaboration with Anne Frank House, Steve Joyce from School District 72, and the Museum at Campbell River.  There is a documentary film entitled “The Short Life of Anne Frank” that will be shown as part of the exhibit.  

The opening reception will be held on Tuesday October 13th from 4:30-6pm and the public is encouraged to attend.  The exhibit can be viewed from October 13th until November 15th at the Museum at Campbell River.  To arrange a school tour, or for more information, please call the Museum at 250-287-3103.

 Granite Bay: Through Twidle's Lens

Photography is not what it used to be.  Today almost everyone has a camera, photographs are easy to take, and can be instantly shared with family and friends.  In the early years of settlement in this area, taking a photograph was a special undertaking.  The equipment was finicky and cumbersome, and the processing and development of a photograph required a great deal of specialized materials and skill.  Finding someone with the will and the capabilities to engage in photography in the rough and tumble logging camps found along the coast in the early 20th century was no mean feat.

Henry Twidle Campbell River Museum exhibit

Henry Twidle was one of the few people in the area with a passion for taking photographs, and for this we can be thankful, because many of the surviving photographs that document these early communities exist because of his enthusiasm.  Henry was a semi-professional photographer specializing in postcards.  He also took many personal photographs, and had a particular fascination with early logging practices, although he never worked as a logger himself.

This exhibit focuses on the photographs that Henry took documenting the community he called home for 40 years, Granite Bay.  Today little remains at Granite Bay aside from private homes; however, in the early 20th century Granite Bay was a boom town featuring a successful logging operation, a lucrative gold mine, several settlers with successful stump farms, a school, general store, post office, and government wharf.  Take a step back in time to look through Henry’s eyes at the community he lived in and loved from 1911 to 1950.  




Discover the Passage - May 16, 2015

Many of us who live in Campbell River or on Quadra Island look at the Discovery Passage every day.  But how well do we really know it?  The Museum at Campbell River has created a new temporary exhibit to tell the story of this marvelous natural waterway, and to give us a glimpse of what lies beneath the waves.

A beautiful but dangerous passage, this marine highway has swiftly flowing tides that surge through narrow spaces to create currents that have been known to sink many ships.  The rapids at Seymour Narrows, even after the destruction of Ripple Rock, can still cause trouble for those unfamiliar with navigating these waters. 

Despite the danger, people have been using the passage for thousands of years as a strategic home base, and the coast here was once populated by hundreds of First Nation’s villagers, living off the abundance of the sea.

Explorers arrived from Europe in 1792, then by 1860, detailed surveys were being made of the coast.  The outlying islands were first populated by settlers in the late 1800s, and Campbell River, a settlement without a natural harbour, remained a small village for many years. 

Then in the 1950s, when hydro dams and the power they produced presented opportunities for increased industry, the population grew dramatically.  With that was a subsequent increased need for services, housing and better harbour facilities.  In that same era, Union Steamships stopped servicing the Discovery Islands, and Campbell River became the hub for marine traffic.

Always critical to this coastal community has been the abundant sea life that thrives offshore and provides outstanding fishing opportunities and wildlife viewing.

Featuring a detailed account of the explosion of Ripple Rock, stories of shipwrecks, stunning underwater photos by Eiko Jones and an interactive map display, this exhibit is sure to fascinate and inform people of all ages.

Come discover the Passage, where the waters are deep and much of the history is buried beneath the waves.  


Rust in Peace, Curated by Rick James - January 23, 2015 - April 19, 2015

Come visit us to take in this one of a kind exhibit that is sure to interest car buffs and junkyard enthusiasts alike. 

The exhibit is entitled Rust in Peace: Island Junkyards of the 1970s, a photographic retrospective, and has been curated by photographer Rick James.  James’ images in black and white declare their subjects as works of art that have become integrated into the surrounding landscape.  Many of the vehicles are entirely overgrown with vegetation and look as if they have truly found their last resting place.  James has also included pictures of visual artist Ken Gerberick’s forest installation of abandoned pieces that he began assembling in 1970, and which is an ongoing project. 

Along with James’ collection, there will also be photos of the breakwater at Oyster Bay taken when the derelict ships that comprised the breakwater were still visible. 


Our Cenotaph

In honour of this region’s fallen soldiers, the Museum, in partnership with the Campbell River Genealogy Society, has created an exhibit about the Campbell River Cenotaph. 

Wherever possible, photographs of these brave men, who volunteered for service in both the First and Second World Wars are included with descriptions of their lives and their  contributions to the war effort.  In many cases, these were very young men, who did not live to see the futures they envisioned, so poignantly expressed in letters home.

While each year on Remembrance Day,  we have an opportunity to pay our  respects to the men on our Cenotaph, for many of us they are just names.  Through this exhibit, the human beings behind the names are revealed; who unselfishly gave their lives in service to their country.

Our Favourites and Unexpected Treasures - July 23 - September 14, 2014

Why does a museum collect what it does?  It often comes as a surprise what ‘things’ are most interesting to a museum. There are several factors to consider, but often monetary value is the least important.

Through our current temporary exhibit, the curatorial staff has chosen some  of our favourite items from the collections to put on display. 

We have also asked our other staff to tell us what they love best about our  museum, and the ‘Staff Favourites’ can be found in our permanent galleries,   indicated on gallery map available at our front reception,with a white star.

Through this temporary exhibit we hope to share some of our favourite items in the collection, and give you a glimpse into some of the ‘behind the scenes’ work that we do.


Threads Through Time: A Coastal Textile History - April 17 to June 23

This exhibit will focus on textile production on the West Coast; its materials, its past and present.

Innovation was and has been the outstanding theme throughout the history of textiles on the West Coast.  With few wool bearing animals or plants that produced fibre, textile creators had to work with what was available to them, and for many years, one of the most widely used materials for weaving was the bark of cedar trees.  

New methods and materials came with the arrival of ships bearing trade goods; then later settlers arrived, bringing domesticated animals, plants, and their own techniques. With the transfer of knowledge and the sharing of skills came the development of even more textiles unique to this region of the world.

The exhibit focuses primarily on First Nations textiles, like utilitarian cedar bark  mats and clothing.  It also features ceremonial Chilkat Robes, the iconic west coast favourite - the Cowichan sweater, and beyond to the ingenious Gill Net rugs of Sointula; as well as  contemporary pieces from area artists. 

The pieces on display not only showcase the inspired workmanship that went into creating them, but demonstrate how the craftspeople produced items that are at once beautiful and functional.












Animals Among Us - January 23 to March 31, 2014

Pet lovers, animal lovers and anyone who appreciates historic photos will enjoy this unique exhibit composed of images taken from the Museum’s archival collection and the stories that go with them.

In the past, people had very different relationships to animals than they do today.  This is especially true among the early European settlers in this region, who were struggling to carve a living out of the dense pacific rain forest. 

As you will see through this photo collection, there was still room for affection and respect, and animals were often considered as important members of the family.  There were no local pet stores or animal rescue societies, but an untamed wilderness at one’s doorstep lead to the adoption of many nonconventional animals. 

The Museum has created a sixteen month calendar of photos selected from the exhibit that is for sale in the Museum Shop beginning November 23, 2013.  Any proceeds from the calendar go towards the cost of creating temporary exhibits at the Museum.




Burning Snags and Raining Ashes, The Bloedel Fire of 1938 and its Aftermath- July 20, 2013 - November 15, 2013

In the spring of 1938, an unprecedented dry spell resulted in one of the worst forest fire seasons ever seen in British Columbia.  Also known as “The Great Fire” and “The Sayward Fire,” the Bloedel Fire burned out of control for almost 30 days and destroyed roughly 30,000 hectares of forested land. 

The Museum at Campbell River will be telling the story of this dramatic event with archival photos, text and artifacts in a temporary exhibit entitled Burning Snags and Raining Ashes: The Bloedel Fire of 1938 and its Aftermath.  It will be on display starting Saturday, July 20th.

Nothing quite like the Bloedel Fire had ever been seen in BC in the 1930s and the impact of the fire was felt over the whole province.  Fighting the fire involved over 2,000 men, and Campbell River and Courtenay were at the centre of news coverage for over a month. 

A newspaperman covering the story for the Vancouver Daily Province, ‘Torchy’ Anderson reported:

“Hundreds of men, scores of pumps, fifty miles of hose, snorting caterpillar bulldozers, axe and shovel crews – every available means of modern forest-fire fighting is pitted against the Red Enemy!”

After the devastation caused by the fire, forest officials realized that natural regeneration would not be enough to ensure a sustainable supply of timber for future use.  The Bloedel Fire is important to us today, because it marks a turning point in the development of a provincial reforestation program and now, 75 years later, many areas have since been logged and planted again.