Take a journey through time and learn about our region's past and present at one of our wonderful museums.
Touchstones Museum of Art and History
Touchstones Museum sits inside a heritage building at the corner of Ward and Vernon in downtown Nelson. The building, which some say is haunted, is designed by esteemed British Columbia architect Francis Rattenbury, the same man who also designed Victoria’s parliament buildings, Empress Hotel, and the original Chateau Lake Louise. Touchstones Nelson’s name derives from the artifact “touchstone” which was a means to test the purity of gold and silver. Metaphorically, then, a touchstone is a tool which can recognize excellence.
From the start, Touchstones has had a mandate to celebrate the art and history of Nelson and bring artists into Nelson in its revolving exhibit spaces. Upstairs is the permanent exhibit, an interactive history of Nelson and the area, which really makes history come alive. Some of the highlights include a life sized replica of a First Nations Sinixt kayak, mining tools, and many photographs and artifacts from our days as a robust silver mining community, along with a selection of short films.
Touchstones Museum Shop and Hours
Visitors can also take in a very well stocked local museum shop, which has quite an extensive array of local handicrafts, locally authored books and created art.
The museum is open all year long. The regular hours are Wednesday from 12:00 to 4:00, Thursday from 12:00 to 8:00 (4:00 - 8:00 is free!), Friday from 12:00 to 4:00 and Saturday from 10:00 to 4:00. The entire museum is wheelchair accessible, and is free to members. Non-members pay $8.00 for adults. There are special rates for children, seniors and families.
Langham Cultural Centre
This beautiful restored heritage building is part museum, part studio space, part theatre and part gallery. The main floor features a constantly changing selection of art and exhibitions, along with live performances and film screenings. Upstairs you'll find the Japanese Canadian Internment Museum chronicling this difficult time in history and the impact it has had on local communities.
- Kootenay Star Mining Museum - a small museum downstairs from Teresa's Coffee Shop downtown Kaslo. The museum celebrates an era when hard, hard work, and unimaginable risk, was the norm for most people. You can see hundreds of old tools, miner's gear, and historic forestry equipment.
- Lardeau Valley Museum - This museum is housed in the historic Gerrard Hatchery Residence Building. Operated by the Lardeau Valley Historical Society, a variety of local historic artifacts are featured which highlight a rich history of mining, logging, agriculture and homesteading. In addition, a small collection of prehistoric artifacts from the early Aboriginal inhabitants of the region is displayed. Located just north of Kaslo.
- SS Moyie National Historic Site - Step back 100 years into the footsteps of history on the S.S. Moyie – the world’s oldest intact passenger sternwheeler in the world. Thousands upon thousands of historical objects make this museum visit authentic inside and out. Blow the ship’s original steam whistle (weather permitting). Peek into a cabin, check out the cargo and vintage cars, check out the mechanics of a working sternwheeler.
- JB Fletcher Store Museum - A restored heritage building that serves as a museum and contains a retail shop with unique gifts by local artisans in Ainsworth Hot Springs.