MINeD: Representing the Brain’s Imagination Through Recycled Metals (at Britannia Museum in Squamish, BC)

JT and I usually go up to Squamish to Shannon Falls/The Stawamus Chief for our usual “beginning of the summer” hike in early June, but this year we haven’t had a chance. And strange as this may sound, despite having visited Squamish many, many times, I have actually never set foot in the Britannia Mine Museum.

Britannia Museum

I know, horror of horrors. Even worse? I have an MEng and I took several courses in Sustainable Mining Engineering. I *should* know the Britannia Mine Museum, very well!

MiNED art by Margie MacDonaldPhoto credit: Scott Kerr

I recently got wind that The Britannia Mine Museum is featuring a unique metal art sculptures exhibit in its historic Machine Shop that runs now till September 16, 2012. “MINeD” is a series of metal sculpture art pieces that are lively and organic in shape, created by artist Margie McDonald, to symbolize the imaginations of the brain through the use of recycled metal materials. The new exhibit reflects mining, the materials that are mined and how these elements influence art.

MiNED art by Margie MacDonald
Photo credit: Scott Kerr

Originally from rural Newfoundland, Margie McDonald now lives in Port Townsend, Washington and is trained in fiber arts with a focus on textiles, tending toward sculptural forms using traditionaltechniques and is inspired by nature to transform industrial materials intoorganic forms. Growing up in a large family that was economically challenged, McDonald was involved with reuse from an early age. She learned to knit mittens and socks, crochet, and make quilts and clothing using mostly recycled materials.

“We’re so pleased to feature the works of Margie, who is a very well-known artist, and to showcase her amazing metal sculptures that are extraordinary to say the least,” says Kirstin Clausen, executive director of the Britannia Mine Museum. “Her unique art pieces are perfect for our museum as it illustrates how mining and mined materials caninfluence artistic expression. It shows our audiences just how mining can be relevant to our daily lives, including how our imaginations can take shape and art can be transformed.”

Curated and designed by Krisztina Egyed, the “MINeD” exhibit transforms the interior of the museum’s historic Machine Shop, so that it becomes a metaphor for the inside of a giant brain where imagination occurs. The space is filled with metal sculptural pieces that are lively and organic in their shape. Recycled metal wire and fasteners are knotted, netted and tangled into luminous webs and cells or creatures. The pieces taken together are representative of the explosion of the trillions of neurons connected inside the human brain whenever imagination is occurring.

Located 10 minutes south of Squamish on the Sea-to-Sky highway, the Britannia Mine Museum was recently transformed from a mining legacy site into a vibrant internationally recognized tourist destination. The museum provides fantastic visitor experiences with the new Beaty-Lundin Visitor Centre, the Britannia A-Z heritage hall, the historic 20-storey Mill building, the underground mine train and outdoor gold panning. Open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with guided tours every 45 minutes throughout the day. The Museum celebrates the contributions of mining and minerals to society, the history of the storied Britannia Beach community and the ideas and practices of environmental renewal and sustainability.

You should definitely make the trip north for an hour or so to check out MINeD, this wonderful artistic exhibit.

About the Britannia Mine Museum:

The Britannia Mine Museum is a mining legacy site and a vibrant, internationally recognized education and tourist destination located between Vancouver and Whistler on the Sea-to-Sky highway. It is a National Historic Site and is a non-profit organization with the intent to increase awareness of the impact of mining and minerals to society, the history of the storied Britannia Beach community and the ideas and practices of environmental renewal and sustainability. It promotes mining awareness through entertaining, experiential education programs, important historic collection preservation and insightful public engagement that allows guests to leave with a better understanding of mining in BC; past, present and future.

Related posts:

  1. Wordless Wednesdays: The UBC Museum of Anthropology at night
  2. Samson V Heritage Museum (New Westminster)
  3. The Britannia Heritage Shipyard (Steveston, BC)
  4. Roedde House Museum (West End)
  5. Restaurant review – Britannia Sushi

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