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Mary's Flowers: A Selection of Flora from the Canadian Rocky Mountains

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Mary's Flowers  A Selection of Flora from the Canadian Rocky MountainsPart I

Mary Schäffer's fascination with natural history was ingrained in her from a young age, through her Quaker education. Her father was an avid mineralogist and took her on many trips. The stories told by family members of the west, its landscape, and Indigenous Peoples sparked a keen interest in her to see it for herself. 

Family trips to California and to Alaska reaffirmed her interest in Indigenous Peoples and their way of life. In 1889, she boarded the Canadian Pacific Railway from Montreal to Vancouver. The stop at Glacier House, in the Selkirk Mountains would forever change her life. Here she was introduced to Dr. Charles Schäffer, who was extremely interested in the botany of the region. After they had returned to Philadelphia, Mary would become his bride.



In 1891, Dr. Schäffer suggested that they return to the Rocky Mountains and its plethora of botanical specimens. Mary was able to accompany her hus…

Shop Features: Coffee Table Books

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Shop Features: Coffee Table Books


Our shop features a wide range of coffee table books that are intended to inspire, spark conversations, and illustrate the sheer beauty of the world we live in. Flipping through their pages allows the reader to immerse themselves in both the imagery and the evocative texts.  
Below is just a segment of what is available in the shop! 


Great Bear Wild: Dispatches from a Northern Rainforest By Ian McAllister, Forward by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. $50 +GST
An exceptionally detailed book that illustrates the biodiversity of the Great Bear Rainforest and the current threats to its sustainability. 
An excerpt from the front jacket states, "In eloquent, evocative prose, McAllister portrays the rainforest's rhythms. We meet Gitga'at elders from the small community of Hartley Bay, Heiltsuk engaged in the traditional herring roe fishery, and scientists devoted to studying the region's fascinating return of humpback and fin whales. Yet, a number of mega-energy…

The Work of Giants: Glaciology and Glacial Retreat in the Canadian Rockies

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The Work of GiantsGlaciology and Glacial Retreat in the Canadian RockiesGuest Writer Eden Luymes, Summer Interpreter 2018 



For centuries, glaciers have been hard at work. Like giant sculptors, ancient glaciers carved out entire valleys and chiseled towering mountains. They continue to supply lakes, rivers, and even distant oceans with water. They are ever changing; always moving and flowing. The only constant for these impressive giants is change. However, that change is becoming increasingly rapid, and increasingly permanent: our glaciers are retreating. 
The first people to study glaciers in the Canadian Rockies were the Vaux family. A Quaker family from Philadelphia, they first visited these mountains in the summer of 1887, and would make many return trips to the region. Mary, George, and William Vaux, all siblings, took an interest in these glaciers when William noticed unexpected changes between his photographs of the Illecillewaet Glacier-- then simply known as the "Great Gla…

Behind the Exhibit : The Process

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Welcome back to Behind the Exhibit! If you haven’t read Part I yet, start here.

After planning the content and structure of my exhibit, it was time to start digitizing photographs and textual materials. Over several weeks, I scanned: 303 individual pictures, two albums (that resulted in 480 digital images), 23 documents, and digitized 1 audio file. These 806 digital images came from eleven different archival collections including: the Moore Family fonds, Jim Brewster Family fonds, Pat Brewster fonds, Fred Brewster fonds, Peter and Catharine Whyte and foundation fonds, George Paris fonds, George Vaux X fonds, Helen Wells fonds, and the Banff School District No. 102 fonds.
The digitization of archival photographs serves two main purposes: 
One is increased access to a portion of the vast photographic collection held in the Archives and Library. While only a fraction of the digitized photographs ended up in the digital exhibit, all 783 digital images have been put in the Digital Vault so …

Museum Week 2018 - Living together, Citizenship and Tolerance

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Museum Week - April 23rd to 29th 2018

The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies is proud to be participating once again in the international social media campaign known as Museum Week. For 7 days cultural institutions around the globe will be sharing their cultural content, whether it be from their collections, programs or special events, with the world. 
This year the theme for Museum Week is living together, citizenship and tolerance. Functioning under the belief that museums and all cultural institutions play a vital role in the development of our societies, Museum Week wants to dedicate this week to these shared beliefs in the hopes of forging links between museums and their diverse communities.
As community is at the core of the Whyte Museum's mission we always strive to show the world how our Banff/Bow Valley community has evolved from when Indigenous Nations traveled in the valley to our vibrant present day town situated in Banff National Park through our collections, programs…