KIRSTIN CLAUSEN knows mining history isn’t exactly the sexiest topic for tourists, but the executive director of the Britannia Mine Museum is banking on an ambitious interactive show launching this summer to paint the historic mill in a new light.
“I think we can be honest: Mining can be a tough sell to turn it into a tourist attraction,” Clausen said. “We hope people will feel a connection to the story.” That particular story is deeply rooted in the history of British Columbia. Once the most productive copper mine in the British Empire, the Britannia mill today is a national historic site and museum that welcomes visitors from around the globe.
In an effort to better appeal to modern audiences, staff at the museum dreamed up the concept for BOOM!, a multi-sensory, interactive show that brings the historic Mill No. 3 to life through “sound, smell, shaking and noise,” Clausen explained. In operation from 1921 to 1974, the ore mill served as the focal point of Britannia Beach, and according to Clausen, has many stories to tell.
“The show takes you on a bit of a rollercoaster,” she said. “There’s a little bit of teaching and you have to learn some things, which is pretty museum-like. But we’ve injected some humour and then we’ve layered the special effects on, and I think we’ll make some people cry. I think people will run the gamut of emotions—not everyone, but there will be a lot of emotional connection to the story of the mill and the community of Britannia Beach.”
The culmination of a 10-year process from inspiration to completion, BOOM! has been developed primarily by Vancouver-based video-production company Vista Collaborative Arts, which has produced themed attractions around the world, including The Sleeping Giant for Mexico’s Museo del Acero.