The Canadian Museum Of History 's Gold Rush Essay

The Canadian Museum Of History 's Gold Rush Essay

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The Canadian Museum of History’s Gold Rush! El Dorado in British Columbia exhibit in Gatineau, Québec explores the intricacies of the famous Pacific gold rush. The Canadian museum follows gold as a pursued commodity, a trade resource, a source of wealth, a religious symbol, and a contemporary material. The museum maintains an objective narrative, supporting all claims by actualities and artifacts. It expands its studies to various parts of the world and borrows information from other gold rushes to build a strong foundation for the study of the British Columbia gold rush. Upon entering the exhibit, the surveyor is presented with a panel that introduces the British Columbia gold rush in addition to its three central themes: exploration, conquest, and colonisation.
Exploration is the fire that ignited the gold rush; sans exploration, there would be no gold rush. For some, the desire to explore led to the discovery of the precious metal. Others were driven by myths of El Dorado to leave their homes in its pursuit. One of the preliminary panels (“El Dorado: the myth of gold”) mentions the Spanish explorers who, along with the Portuguese, were among the first European explorers to America. Much of exploration was incited by colonial tales – from people who had personally witnessed the riches of the new land. Australians, Chinese, and Europeans alike rushed to San Francisco, Melbourne, British Columbia, and to New Zealand in sole pursuit of gold – “gold-seekers arrived from around the world.” The museum exhibit accepts that while exploration opened doors for Europeans to discovery, colonies, and resources, exploration also introduced racism, violence, and disease to indigenous populations. Nevertheless, exploration was a driving force...


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...nents of the rushes like Anglo-normative prejudice, violence, racism, international economics, and women. Conversely, it muses more easily grasped concepts like motivation for gold pursuit, geographical localisation, and populations involved. The Canadian Museum of History keeps a reasonably neutral, objective perspective throughout the display explaining both the imperial and colonial perspectives and synthesising them to forge an accurate non-traditional historiography. Finally, the exhibit maintains the factoid, quirky, sensational aspects that make the historiography a museum exhibit and not an academic article. Elements such as “Canada’s first Chinatown” and “the first building [was] a liquor store!” as well as modern day uses of gold like Olympic medals tie the past to the present and keep the exhibit entertaining while maintaining its educational foundations.

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