L-R, Kootenay mountain biking pioneer Mark Holt, Touchstones executive director Astrid Heyerdahl, and Deb MacKillop of the Nelson Cycling Club at the 2018 Touchstones exhibit. Photo: Louis Bockner

L-R, Kootenay mountain biking pioneer Mark Holt, Touchstones executive director Astrid Heyerdahl, and Deb MacKillop of the Nelson Cycling Club at the 2018 Touchstones exhibit. Photo: Louis Bockner

Touchstones Museum wins award for 2018 mountain bike exhibit

Exhibit responded to an unexplored yet vital part of Nelson’s identity

Submitted by Touchstones Nelson Museum

Touchtones Nelson Museum has won a major award for its 2018 exhibition that celebrated the history of mountain biking — the thrills, spills and tales — in Nelson and area.

It was one of the museum’s most popular exhibitions ever, with hundreds attending the opening and closing events, and thousands of people visiting the show from Nelson and far beyond. Not only did the community celebrate the success of the show, but now the greater museum community in B.C. has recognized the relevancy and reach of the exhibition.

The exhibit, entitled A Mountain Biking Retrospective, was chosen by the BC Museums Association to be honoured with a BCMA Award of Outstanding Achievement: Honourable Mention for Impact and Engagement.

“We are thrilled to receive this award,” said Astrid Heyerdahl, executive director of Touchstones Nelson, and the curator of the exhibition. “The list of individuals, trail builders, riders, local mountain bike stars, community groups, mountain bike associations throughout the Kootenays, artists, filmmakers, historians, and businesses that contributed to this exhibition is exceptional — it was truly built by those who created this history, and further form the mountain bike culture today.”

“This exhibit responded to an unexplored yet vital part of the community’s identity and contemporary cultural development,” the BC Museums Association stated in a press release. “The exhibit was multi-faceted and strategically executed. This museum understood its community and stimulated museum interest by exploring an activity many in the community embraced wholeheartedly.”

As Mark Holt, owner of The Sacred Ride, trail builder and one of the great Nelson biking champions said, “We got third — that’s a bronze medal!”

The Nelson Cycling Club’s Deb MacKillop said Nelson has historically been known primarily as a ski town, but that’s changing.

“The emergence of mountain biking was somewhat unnoticed by those outside of the sports and tourism sectors,” she said, “and the museum show highlighted both the current status and deep roots of a relatively new sport.”

As the snow starts to cover the mountain tops, we think fondly of an incredible spring, summer and early fall of mountain biking in Nelson and area. Even in this challenging time, the community was able to ride with friends and family while being able to maintain safe distances on the trails.

“This has been an unbelievably challenging year for BC’s museums, galleries, and cultural centres, but our members have faced COVID-19 with creativity, resilience, and an unwavering belief in the transformative power of museums. Congratulations to all of the 2020 recipients,” said Ryan Hunt, BC Museums Association’s executive director.

Only two other museums in B.C. received awards – the Museum of Surrey received the Award of Merit, Excellence in Community Engagement; and Two Rivers Gallery received the Award of Merit, Excellence in Exhibitions.

This exhibition was developed by the community, and special recognition goes out to Darren Davidson, Deb MacKillop, the Nelson Cycling Club, Mark Holt, Pinkbike, Derek Westerlund, Freeride Entertainment, Bryan Ralph, Mike Seniuk, NRG Enterprises, John Gibson, Robbie Bourdon, Denis Bourdon, Ross McNamara, Gericks Cycle and Ski, Christian Begin, Mark Crowe, Fred Rosenberg, Frank Baranyai, Ian Hylands, Doug Le Page, Darcy Hennessey Turenne, Speedpro Signs and Hall Printing.

The exhibition was also sponsored by Columbia Basin Trust, Heritage BC, Nelson and District Credit Union, Kootenay Culture Magazine, and the BC Arts Council. Touchstones Nelson Museum also thanks the City of Nelson, which provides us with a partial operating grant in recognition of the essential service we provide to the city, by caring for local archives and history collection.

Touchstones Nelson acknowledges that the land on which we mountain bike and reside is on the traditional unceded territory of the Sinixt, Syilx, Ktunaxa and Métis Nations. Touchstones Nelson would like to thank and acknowledge the Sinixt, Syilx, Yaqan Nukiy Ktunaxa and the Métis people for the opportunity to live, learn and share in cultural experiences in this beautiful place.

Related: Exhibit celebrates Nelson mountain bike history and culture