Using 19th century technology, Tekoa Predika prepares to photograph two guests at the gala. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Touchstones Nelson gala draws a crowd

The multi-faceted event was a fundraiser for the Diefenbunker Project.

A tintype photographer took portraits of the guests with a huge vintage camera in a makeshift 19th century photo studio.

Three artists created live paintings while the 150 wandering guests watched, gourmet food in hand, sometimes chatting with the painters as they worked. The canvasses were later auctioned off.

Tours of the Diefenbunker departed every half hour. Works by prominent artists Carol Reynolds and Brent Bukowski were raffled off. There was wine.

Harpist Toinya Fominoff played. Singer Naomi Cromwell sang. Archival photos and artifacts were displayed, discussed, marvelled at, and sold.

This was History Mashup, Touchstones Museum’s gala $50-per-ticket fundraiser on Sunday. The main purpose was to fund the Diefenbunker Project.

The Diefenbunker is a Cold War nuclear fallout shelter, similar to more than 50 others built across Canada by the government of Prime Minister John Diefenbaker in the 1960s. It’s located in the basement of the Post Office, adjacent to Touchstones. The museum plans to lease the space and use part of it for community programming and to house some of its collection.

“We are preserving the heritage site, recognizing that it is a piece of history and we really don’t want to lose that,” said Touchstones executive director Astrid Heyerdahl.

“So we are rehabilitating the space and re-purposing it, but when you walk in, you will feel as though you are walking back in time. So what we are going to do is create an exhibition space around the bunker.”

She said the new space will also be used for events such as workshops and film screenings.


Stephanie Myers of Kootenay Co-op Radio with Touchstones executive director Astrid Heyerdahl, backed by a historic photo of Nelson’s former Kootenay Forest Products mill. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Tekoa Predika

Bryn Stevenson, one of three live painters at the gala. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Painter Tyler Toews live-painted a reproduction of the door to the Diefenbunker.

The crowd. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Historian Ron Welwood. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

The food was supplied by the Hume Hotel. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Singer Naomi Cromwell. Photo: Bill Metcalfe