Land of Thundering Snow exhibit now online

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Dr. John Woods introduces Land of Thundering Snow – Canada’s first virtual avalanche exhibit at a special presentation at Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre on March 4, 2015. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

Remember the great Land of Thundering Snow exhibit opening at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre this past March? (See the Revelstoke Mountaineer story here.)

Well, the full online exhibit is now open to the public. (It was briefly available in March but then taken offline for further refinement.)

Revelstoke Museum curator Cathy English is excited to get the virtual museum online for everyone in the country and beyond:

“Living in the mountains, one is constantly reminded that we are living in avalanche country. This project brought to light that, throughout history, Canadians across the country have been impacted and the story of avalanches and snow science is one that affects all Canadians. I am overwhelmed by and grateful for the support we received on this project, and the enthusiasm of everyone involved. We now have a legacy of snow research and avalanche safety in Canada available to everyone,” English said.

In a Sept. 28 media release, the Land of Thundering Snow exhibit announced the return of the exhibit:

For Immediate Release

Canada’s first online avalanche exhibit, Land of Thundering Snow, goes live

September 28, 2015    Revelstoke, BC Revelstoke Museum and Archives

After countless hours of research and meticulous documentation, Canada’s first virtual avalanche exhibit, Land of Thundering Snow, will be launched on the Virtual Museum of Canada website this week. Available in English and French, the exhibit can be accessed at www.landofthunderingsnow.ca

Snow avalanches have impacted Canadians for more than a century, from the tragic deaths of 58 rail workers in Rogers Pass in 1910, to the creation of organisations like Avalanche Canada in 2004. Until now, however, the history of avalanches has not been gathered in one place.

In 2012, Revelstoke Museum and Archives received $235,000 through the Virtual Exhibits Investment Program of the Virtual Museum of Canada, initially managed by the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN) and now managed by the Canadian Museum of History, with the financial support of the Government of Canada, to create a virtual exhibit about the history of snow research and avalanche safety in Canada. Project partners are Parks Canada, Avalanche Canada, Revelstoke Railway Museum, and Okanagan College.

Retired Parks Canada biologist and naturalist Dr John Woods developed the content for Land of Thundering Snow, unveiling many previously unheard of stories connected to avalanches, and his first-hand knowledge of the history of Glacier National Park’s avalanche control program – the first of its kind in Canada – makes him an expert in the field. John painstakingly documented the country’s 870 avalanche-related deaths from the past 150 years that can be accessed on the site via an interactive map of Canada. The website also features more than one hour of video content and interviews with those involved in avalanche safety.

Earlier this year, Revelstoke Museum and Archives opened a physical hands-on avalanche exhibit to compliment Land of Thundering Snow. Community members celebrated the launch of both exhibits at a special event at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre, attracting more than 200 people to the event, which included dramatic avalanche footage, accounts of historic achievements, a moving tribute to those lost to avalanches and interactive exhibits from partners.

Quick Facts

  • Land of Thundering Snow is Canada’s first virtual avalanche exhibit.
  • Revelstoke Museum and Archives received $235,000 from the Virtual Exhibits Investment Program of the Virtual Museum of Canada for the project.
  • Land of Thundering Snow partners include: Avalanche Canada, Okanagan College, Parks Canada, Revelstoke Railway Museum
  • The project also received support from numerous individuals, archives and organizations including the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Canadian Pacific; and the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation, HeliCat Canada, Canadian Armed Forces, and Revelstoke Credit Union.