One of Marine Drive’s most distinguished fixtures is receiving a facelift, and those visiting White Rock beach this summer will be able to take a step back in time once it is complete.
White Rock Museum and Archives’ $1.4-million revitalization project – which is expected to be finished by July – is restoring the historical building to its original train-station design.
“The idea was to put it back to its original architecture,” museum executive director Sharon Oldaker said, noting visitors will see a number of improvements. “They’re going to see bright, fresh gallery space, they’re going to see a completely new museum store, and of course the big draw is the breezeway from Marine Drive to the beach has been put back in place, and that’s the original architecture from when the museum was built in 1913.”
The museum hopes to attract artists from all over the area by featuring Pacific Northwest artwork of every medium in the building’s store, Oldaker added.
“The museum shop is going to primarily feature work from local artists and that’s kind of a new direction for the shop a little bit. We want to be the go-to place if you’re looking for something that really exemplifies local artwork.”
In fact, the goal is for the museum to be a go-to place for all manner of interests and attractions.
“The whole idea is that we want the museum to be a focal point of activity on the promenade.”
That activity will begin with a soft opening July 1, which will be the public’s first opportunity to see the renovated facility.
“The building itself will be the exhibit,” Oldaker said. “We’ll have information at the time on volunteering programs, the train plaque program, heritage stone program, and on different ways to get involved in the museum. Absolutely, people would be invited to come in, and if they want a sneak peek before the day of our opening, that’s the day to do it.
“But watch out for our real opening early in August, and then we’ll be open full-steam ahead from that conjuncture.”
The grand opening will also celebrate the first exhibit to be held at the newly revamped museum.
Aliens Among Us – a BC Royal Museum travelling exhibition – will run through to the fall, highlighting plants and animals that have been introduced to the province, from goldfish and Manila clams to scotch broom and thistle.
“Basically the exhibition aims to educate British Columbians about the aliens in our natural environment,” Oldaker said. “There are over 4,000 alien species in our province, and that number grows every year.”
News of the upcoming events should be music to the ears of those who have been eagerly awaiting the project’s completion since it began in October 2010.
“The completion of the building was delayed a little from the original timeframe but we’re on track to be open with our first exhibit when we thought we would be.”
Oldaker encouraged residents and visitors alike to be on the lookout for other special events, as well as to explore ways to get involved with the museum.
“We’re always looking for donations and support to further our ability to bring exhibits into the city and obviously to finish the interior of the building to the standard that we’re aiming to achieve.”