Another special exhibit that was on at the Canadian Museum of History dealt with gold rushes- both in general in the Americas (with mention of Australian rushes), as well as one in particular- the gold rush in British Columbia in the latter half of the 19th century. It included art, equipment, common items on display from a number of different collections, as well as context for the lust for gold down through centuries, particularly the ever elusive myth Europeans had for the Americas: the mysterious city of gold, El Dorado. The same patterns came each time with gold discoveries: feverish races to the scene, violence, and the oppression of indigenous peoples.
This gold bar greeted the visitor at the entrance, along with display panels and a golden mask.
Overhead, these period signs caught my eye, advertising passage to the gold fields of California during their gold rush years. Generally speaking, the prospectors who made money were those actually living in California in 1848, the year gold was first found. Those who came in the months-long overland journeys or by sea in 1849 and the following years often found little more than failed expectations among far too many other prospectors. The tools in the display case were typical of prospectors in gold rushes through the 19th century.
This painting is called Miners In The Sierra, by artist Norton Bush, an oil painting from 1869, depicting miners dwarfed by the scale of the land in California.
This painting, The Lone Prospector, is an oil painting by Albertus Browere, dating to 1853.
I have more from this exhibit tomorrow, but this display case figures into where the exhibit moved from gold rushes in general to the gold rushes that took place in the province of British Columbia in the latter half of the 19th century.