Museum prepares for Quintette reunion

Who photographs the photographer? Ron Lukey’s classic photographs of Tumbler Ridge and the mines will be on display for the Quintette Reunion.

Who photographs the photographer? Ron Lukey’s classic photographs of Tumbler Ridge and the mines will be on display for the Quintette Reunion.

Charles Helm

A lot of hard work is being done by Marg Wheeler, Karen Connelly and the dedicated committee that is organizing the Quintette reunion weekend in July 2016. The Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation is trying to assist in this process in as many ways as possible, hoping to provide as many opportunities for those attending the celebrations to remembering the “good ol’ days”.

Some of these are already obvious: photo exhibits in the Community Centre celebrate the first generation of mines, along with memorabilia from Quintette and Bullmoose Mines, as well as numerous photos from the early days of Tumbler Ridge. The Railway exhibit in the Caboose also should hold much of interest, given its relevance to the shipping of the first loads of coal.

The area outside the Dinosaur Discovery Gallery (near the adjoining playground) is going to become home to a new exhibit. Ron Lukey took magnificent black and white pictures of the Quintette Mine in the early 1990s, and has given permission for a selection of these to become a permanent exhibit. An 8’ x 4’ sign has been produced, and will be installed once the ground is no longer frozen, beside two haul truck tires, donated by Walter Energy. The much appreciated efforts of the Kirbys and Will Howe in transporting these huge tires to the museum have made this possible.

Currently further sign exhibits are being planned, featuring the first known art from Tumbler Ridge. The artist was Mariusz Pytlewski, and the works date from 1985 and 1986.  Some of these were the subject of an early exhibit in the Art Gallery at the Community Centre. These sketches eloquently convey the spirit of the pioneer days in Tumbler Ridge. The plan is for the mine sketches also to be exhibited beside the haul truck tires, while the downtown scenes would be installed on signage in the downtown core as part of the Downtown Walking Tour, provided approval is granted by Council.

Then there are the historic and magnificent Quintette doors, which were repatriated to Tumbler Ridge by Teck Corporation, and are now housed near the entrance of the Dinosaur Discovery Gallery. Opportunities will be provided to visitors for photos beside these doors, which remain close to the hearts of many former Quintette employees. Crys White, who runs the Museum Foundation’s Archives, is working closely with Marg and Karen to ensure that interested participants in the reunion may take a look at other archival material.

The Museum Foundation hopes that these exhibits new and old will further foster community pride, will rekindle old memories, and will enhance the experiences of those who are traveling back to their roots in Tumbler Ridge for what promises to be a unique celebration in our community.