About TRMF

About TRMF

The Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation is dedicated to the conservation, preservation, research and display of British Columbia’s fossil heritage and Tumbler Ridge history through science, historical archives and public education. We undertake these activities while maintaining the highest possible professional and ethical standards without bias.

Mandate

The Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation is a registered not-for-profit society in British Columbia, and has charitable organization status.

The Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation’s mandate is to:

  1. Develop and maintain the Tumbler Ridge Museum for the benefit of residents and visitors, highlighting the unique palaeontological, historical, mining, geographic and other features of the greater Tumbler Ridge area.
  2. Maintain a repository for archival records pertaining to the Tumbler Ridge area.
  3. Provide an organization through which all those interested in local museum and archives work may meet and exchange information.
  4. Stimulate research into local museum-related fields.
  5. Develop and promote the highest possible standards of policies, procedures and ethics.

History

In 2000 two boys, Mark Turner (11) and Daniel Helm (8), were tubing down rapids in Flatbed Creek just below Tumbler Ridge. They fell off their tube and walked back upstream on bedrock. They noticed a series of depressions in the rock and correctly identified these as a dinosaur trackway. Trying to convince adults of the importance of their discovery, their perseverance paid off as their trail led to Philip Currie, Curator of Dinosaurs at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, and to palaeontologist Rich McCrea, western Canada's authority on dinosaur footprints.

In 2001 McCrea came to visit, confirmed the importance of this in situ discovery, and found British Columbia' s second ever dinosaur bone right beside it. At the time this was one of the only places known where footprints and bone had been discovered together in the same rock layer. Press releases made national headlines, and these events served as catalysts for the formation of the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation 

Tumbler Ridge's assets of surrounding physical beauty, unparalleled setting, and unique history, coupled with the emerging palaeontological discoveries, led to the identification of four main museum themes to be developed:

  • Dinosaurs and other fossils
  • Natural History including waterfalls
  • Coal and the creation of Tumbler Ridge
  • Human History (archaeology, pioneer and recent history).

McCrea taught the passionately enthusiastic locals what to search for, and soon regular dinosaur footprint discoveries were being made. On one expedition down a canyon with a few dozen footprint discoveries, a crucial find was made: BC's first accumulation of dinosaur skeletal material. This was also by far the oldest dinosaur bone material in western Canada, and very few bones from this age of rock were known worldwide. The possibility of this representing new species to science provided further impetus, and a fundraising drive was initiated to make the excavation possible.

This progress was matched at the administrative level, registering the TRMF first as a non-profit society and then obtaining charitable status, and the Board of Directors and other volunteers committed thousands of hours to further their dreams. Displays were created in the Tumbler Ridge Community Centre, trails were built to the dinosaur footprint field sites, and guided tours were offered. Loraine Funk was the first TRMF president, followed by Carolyn Golightly, Rose Colledge, Dave Price, Charles Helm, Charissa Tonnesen and Jim Kincaid.

In 2004 funding was obtained through the federal Softwood Industry Community Adjustment Economic Initiative (SICEAI) and allowed for the outfitting of the Museum's research arm, the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre (PRPRC). Collections rapidly began accumulating not only of dinosaur bones and footprints but of fossil fishes and marine reptiles, corals, plants and many other types that make Northeastern BC a global palaeontological hotspot.

Excavated material is removed to the PRPRC where it is prepared, researched, described and exhibited. McCrea was joined by Lisa Buckley; together they provided complementary expertise in footprints and bones respectively. With further funding from Western Diversification, the Dinosaur Discovery Gallery was developed and housed in the decommissioned Claude Galibois School under lease from the District of Tumbler Ridge. This allowed for the expansion of the PRPRC, and in time an outside shed was constructed to house extra-heavy specimens.

An enormous amount of media exposure was generated by this activity, with features by Discovery Channel, Knowledge Network,  Globe and Mail, the Vicki Gabereau Show and many others, and books were written on the finds.

While palaeontology grabbed the spotlight and helped to diversify the Tumbler Ridge economy, the other TRMF themes were not neglected. This was reflected in the expanding number of exhibits in the Tumbler Ridge Community Centre.

British Columbia’s first articulated dinosaur material was discovered by Dr McCrea and Dr Buckley and their team, and three years were spent excavating this site. Thanks to a generous donation from Cream Productions the jacketed specimen was flown out by helicopter and is in the process of being prepared out of its surrounding rock. It was also discovered that the site contained skeletal material from many dinosaurs. With adequate funding an entire bonebed might be exposed.

Equally interesting was the discovery of the world’s only known tyrannosaur trackways (the Tumbler Ridge area contains the majority of the world’s known tyrannosaur tracks). In the scientific article which Dr McCrea, Dr Buckley and a team of international experts published on this discovery, they coined the term ‘a terror of tyrannosaurs’.

In 2012 the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation led the drive for the creation of a Global Geopark in the Tumbler Ridge area. The Tumbler Ridge UNESCO Global Geopark was formally designated in 2014 and has had an enormous impact on the community and region. The two organizations work closely together on many projects, while recognizing their different mandates and responsibilities.

The PRPRC has been true to its name, in researching and celebrating not just the fossils of Tumbler Ridge, but of the whole Peace Region.  In the forefront of this work has been the Six Peaks site near Hudson’s Hope, one of the largest and most important dinosaur tracksites in the world.

As the Dinosaur Discovery Gallery has developed, and renovation projects have expanded the entrance and gift shop, the facility has become an attractive venue for special occasions, where being surrounded by dinosaurs creates a unique ambience.

Keep Reading

Partners

Many organizations and individuals have recognized the importance of the Tumbler Ridge Museum project. The District of Tumbler Ridge has provided generous annual funding, matched in recent years by funding from the Peace River Regional District. The Dalglish Family Foundation has repeatedly provided major funding support, which has helped keep the museum dream alive. In 2018 the Dalglish Family Foundation,  LaPrairie Crane, the Tumbler Ridge Lions Club, Meikle Wind and donors at the 3D Medical Conference all provided substantial contributions which allowed the Tumbler Ridge Museum to continue to thrive.

Wolverine Nordic Mountain Society

The Wolverine Nordic Mountain Society has been a long-time partner of the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation: you can see their tireless efforts on our Dinosaur Trackway Tours! Visit www.wnms.ca to plan your hiking adventures during your visit!

Tumbler Ridge UNESCO Global Geopark

The Tumbler Ridge UNESCO Global Geopark received its official designation in 2014. With glaciated Rocky Mountain peaks and 75 million year-old tyrannosaurid trackways, the Geopark is an outdoor adventure lovers’ paradise surrounding the community of Tumbler Ridge, BC tumblerridgegeopark.ca

Meikle Wind

Meikle Wind

Board and Executive

The Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation 2018 AGM was held on 19 December, and the new Board of Directors was elected by ballot. The new board and executive are enjoying advancing the museum project and serving the members of the TRMF for the 2019 year.

Executive:

  • Charissa Tonnesen, President
  • Jerrilyn Schembri,  Vice President
  • Bob Norman, Secretary
  • Steve Tory, Treasurer

Directors at-large:

  • Sheryl Crawford
  • Cameron Drever
  • Birgit Sharman
  • Rose Snyder
  • Jim Kincaid

Dr Charles Helm and Dr Peter Sherrington serve as scientific advisors.

Contact The Gallery

The Gallery is open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM