Smithers and the Bulkley Valley Museum are located on the traditional unceded territory of the Gidimt’en (Bear/Wolf) Clan of the Witsuwit’en (Wet’suwet’en).
The Bulkley Valley Museum collects, preserves and presents items of historical and cultural significance from Smithers and the Bulkley Valley, with the purpose of making our local history exciting and engaging.
Local community members, including early Smithers resident Ernest Hann, had been compiling a collection of artifacts, documents, and photographs representing the history of Smithers and the surrounding Bulkley Valley as early as 1961. These collections formed the museum’s first public displays when the Smithers Centennial Library & Museum opened in November 1967.
In 1971 the Museum was officially incorporated under the Society’s Act of British Columbia as the Bulkley Valley Historical & Museum Society. In 1974 as space became limited in the Library/Museum building, the Museum was moved to the Central Park Building, a heritage building constructed in 1925 as the provincial government building and courthouse. The Museum first shared space in the Central Park Building with the Smithers Art Gallery, later moving to its own space on the first floor. The Museum continues to operate in that space today. The Bulkley Valley Museum is open year round, and its collections, exhibits, and programing are enjoyed by over 4000 people each year.
The Bulkley Valley Museum is operated by the Bulkley Valley Historical & Museum Society (BVHMS). The Society elects a Board of Directors from its membership. Acting as a policy board, the Board of Directors are responsible for establishing vision, policy, and resources for the Museum. The BVHMS operates under the following mandate:
1. To gather and preserve local historical artifacts, information and records
2. To maintain and operate a museum to house and display said artifacts
3. To provide access to archival materials for research purposes
4. To encourage preservation of historical landmarks, including buildings and monuments
2021-22 Board of Directors:
President: Rick Budhwa
Vice President: Pat Scott
Secretary: Betty Campbell
Treasurer: Jonathan Boone
Directors: Claire de Jong
Town Council Liaison: Frank Wray (non-voting)
In 2017 the Museum adopted a new five-year strategic plan. This plan was built on public feedback gathered formally through a 2015 survey, and informally from visitor and community feedback between 2015-2017. The Board of Directors and Curator formalized the written plan in 2016. The plan outlines four key areas that will guide the Museum’s activities over the next five years: Collections Management Documentation and Storage, Community Investment, Exhibit Renewal, and Accessing History through Outreach and Programming.
The Board of Directors will present a new five-year strategic plan in 2022. A community feedback survey was distributed in 2021 to help guide strategic direction and planning for the 2022-2026 period.
View a summary of the survey results →
Curator Kira Westby is from Peterborough, Ontario. She received her Honours Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology and History from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2010, and a Masters in Public History from the University of Western Ontario in 2011. Prior to moving to Smithers she worked at the archaeological collections facility Sustainable Archaeology: Western in London Ontario for three years. While living in London, Kira was the Emerging Leaders Representative on the London Advisory Committee on Heritage. Kira has been with the Bulkley Valley Museum since November 2014. She is a director with the BC Historical Federation, Tourism Smithers, and the Wetzin’kwa Community Forest Corporation.
Email Kira: email@example.com
Assistant Curator Holly Peterson grew up in Fort McMurray, Edmonton, and Calgary, Alberta. She received a Bachelor of Arts with Distinction in History with a Minor in Museum and Heritage Studies from the University of Calgary in 2017. Following this, she completed the Fleming College Museum Management and Curatorship program in Peterborough, Ontario. Before joining the Bulkley Valley Museum in 2020, Holly worked at institutions such as The Military Museums of Alberta, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, and the Whistler Museum and Archives.
Email Holly: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bulkley Valley Museum receives annual operational funding assistance from the Town of Smithers, the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako, and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council, and the Community Gaming Grant. The Museum applies for additional funding for special projects or programs as required. To learn more about our funders and past projects or programs they have supported, please contact the Museum.
The Bulkley Valley Museum also receives significant support for its activities and programs from local businesses through donations or corporate memberships. Become a corporate sponsor or obtain a corporate membership for your business!
The Bulkley Valley Museum is a member of the British Columbia Museums Association, the Archives Association of British Columbia, the Canadian Museum Association, the BC Historical Federation, the Bulkley Valley Arts Council, and the Smithers and District Chamber of Commerce.