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In Castle Mountain's Shadow: The Story of Silver City

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In Castle Mountain's Shadow:The Story of Silver City


Most people admire the towering fortress along the eastern edge of the Trans-Canada Highway as they drive north towards Lake Louise. Named by Sir James Hector in 1858, Castle Mountain is a place with a tumultuous past.  

Before the railway was built through the Rocky Mountains the access to the region was either by foot or horse. In 1881, John Healy was shown a sample of copper ore collected from the base of Castle Mountain by a local Stoney Nakoda member. After having the ore tested, it was determined to contain high levels of copper and lead. In the same year, Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) surveyors were determining a route through the mountains. 

With the coming of the railway, the race was on to stake a prospect claim in the area. Healy returned to the area in 1882 to stake his claim and originally named it Copper Mine. It is uncertain how the name changed to Silver City, since no silver was ever mined there.



 Soon after, the r…

Gems Within: Animals

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Gems Within:Animals

The title of this blog post, Gems Within, is the primary theme of our Founders' Gallery here at the Whyte Museum. The purpose of this gallery is to showcase treasured objects from the Museum collection. In this post, we have selected a handful of those objects and art centred around a theme, animals.  

Do you have a favourite animal? Share yours below in the comments!

Stay tuned for more Gems Within feature posts!




Carl Clemens Moritz Rungius (1869-1959, American) In the Ogilvie Rockies, 1940 C, oil on canvas, 74.5 x 100.5 cm, RuC.02.15 



J. Monroe Thorington (1894-1989, American) Rocky Mountain Goat, 1970 P, charcoal on paper, 38.0 x 23.0 cm, ThM.03.05




Skull, bear, 1928-1932,  bone, 112.01.0030



Boylston Dummer Mountain Lion, Banff,  n.d., woodcut on paper, 22 x 22 cm, DuB.04.01




Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927, Japanese) Untitled, n.d., woodblock print, KoR.04.02



Animal, miniature n.d., ceramic; metal; wood; paint; plastic; glue, 107.01.1029 a-g

Dr. Edward Sylvester Morse: Marine Biologist, Collector, and Scholar

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Dr. Edward Sylvester Morse

Marine Biologist, Collector, and Scholar


Many may not know, but here at the Whyte Museum, we have a rich and diverse collection of Japanese objects and art. In January 2018, Dr. Gain Chin, an Associate Professor Emeritus at the University of Regina, provided a scholarly assessment of our Japanese collection. She was able to add depth and clarity about the cultural significance and value of our collection. How you may ask, did we acquire such objects? Come with us on a journey of the man known as Dr. Edward Sylvester Morse. 

Morse specialized in the study of malacology, which focuses on mollusca. Mollusca includes snails, slugs, clams, octopus, squid, and so on. As a marine biologist he focused heavily on this classification of invertebrates. In 1870, he published a book that reclassified braciopods as worms, rather than mollusks. In 1877, Morse went in search of coastal braciopods in Japan. This short stay turned into a three year adventure for Morse. During t…

Artifact Feature: Pony Premno No.6 Camera

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Artifact FeaturePony Premno No.6 Camera

Camera, 1810-1910, Wood; Skin; Metal; Glass, 104.41.0007

This small, bellows camera is a Pony Premno No.6. The Premno camera line was produced by the Rochester Optical Company. As technology changed and photography became more popular, the wants of the average consumer also changed. No longer did the heavy and cumbersome cameras of the past have a place in the everyday life of an amateur photographer. They wanted a lighter, less bulky camera that was easily transported. 
This particular camera has a 9 x 12 cm quarter plate, f/ 4.5 150 mm Planatograph lens, and a Bausch & Lomb pneumatic shutter [2]. It also has a tilting and reversing back, which allows for either portrait or landscape pictures to be taken. The ground glass screen is a ". . . sheet of glass with matted surface, placed in the plane to be occupied by the sensitized plate. When the image on screen is sharp the camera [is] correctly focused [1]." Many of these types of cam…

The Beach House Hotel: Lake Minnewanka's First Hotel

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The Beach House HotelLake Minnewanka's First Hotel 
Arriving in Banff in 1886, Willoughby John Astley, along with W. H. Desbrowne, decided to build the first ever hotel on Lake Minnewanka. A log structure was completed in 1886/87 and aptly named theBeach House Hotel.  



In June of 1889, Willoughby's brother, Charles D'oyley Astley, his wife Lucy Ann Andrew, and their infant daughter Violet Louisa would join him at the hotel. In 1890 Willoughby was contracted by the Canadian Pacific Railway to build a small two bedroom chalet at Laggan, now known as Lake Louise (pictured below). After the construction, Willoughby was hired to run this chalet at Laggan and after his departure, his brother Charles D'oyley Astley and his wife Lucy took up management of the Beach House Hotel.







The Beach House Hotel soon became an attraction for a wide variety of visitors and people from all over the world came to stay. From England to Australia, to Scotland and India, it became a unique getaway …

A Look Back: A Year of Celebrations

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As we begin 2019 we reflect back on our 50th anniversary celebrations and another great year here at the Whyte. For our anniversary, the Museum hosted exhibitions and events to mark the occasion. Let's take a look at this years past events! 



From Morse to Whyte: A Dynastic Bequest of Japanese Treasures April 14 to June 10, 2018
Catharine Robb Whyte's maternal grandfather, Dr. Edward Sylvester Morse (1838-1925) was a scholar with a vast range of interests, including Japanese culture. This exhibition included ceramics and other artistic and cultural objects. 




Artistry Revealed: Peter Whyte, Catharine Robb Whyte and Their Contemporaries June 17 to October 21, 2018
In 2018, with the help of our community the Whyte Museum celebrated its 50th anniversary by presenting a vigorous series of exhibitions, educational, and community outreach programs. The centrepiece of our anniversary program was an exhibition and publication dedicated to our founders, Artistry Revealed: Peter Whyte, Catharin…