Snow Lake: History Remembered
I have lived in the small northern Manitoba mining town of Snow Lake for the past 45 years. I came as a teenager, and left several times, but I always returned. I’m the editor, writer and layout person for a twice-monthly area newspaper, The Underground Press.
Mining draws most to the community of slightly under 1,000, but the beauty of the area, safety and outdoor recreation are what keep folks here. The strong sense of respect for who they are, as well as for those who have preceded them, have always amazed me. I get a feel for it every time I visit the Snow Lake Mining Museum. I’m carried back and placed in the midst of the small community’s rich history, a past that was built upon the successes of its mineral industry.
Once a bus garage, lodging the vehicles that ferried workers to and from area mines, this large building now houses the heritage those workers toiled to produce.
Opening its doors 20 years ago, the Snow Lake Mining Museum went from a small collection of used mine machinery to an extremely well-organized and catalogued collection of local prospecting and mining memorabilia, as well as some remarkable themed and interactive exhibits, all of which allow patrons to truly experience their history. It didn’t happen overnight and it certainly didn’t happen without an immense amount of work and vision from a board made up of locals, headed by long-standing chairperson Paul Hawman and watched over by the museum’s enduring curator, Dori Forsyth.
Every visit to the museum is an experience in its own, and, in addition to me, many find it hard to refrain from pulling up to a table and delving into the reams of printed and pictorial history housed in the entry’s vestibule. Of course, there is much more included in the museum itself and patrons need to get into the main part of this building in order to take it all in.