A Mountain Biking Retrospective

Touchstones Nelson: Museum of Art and History

Touchstones Nelson: Museum of Art and History has been nominated for a 2020 BCMA Outstanding Achievement Award, Excellence in Exhibitions for their exhibition “A Mountain Biking Retrospective: 25 years of TA Mountain Biking Retrospective: 25 years of Tales, Trails and Bails.” Touchstones Nelson was the first gallery in BC to have undertaken the history of mountain biking in their region to this exceptional magnitude–recognizing the significance of a sport and cultural phenomenon that is less than 30 years old; as well as truly opening the museum up to a community collaborative curatorial process on a topic that is very relevant to those that live in the area.

The exhibition showcased the history of mountain biking from the 1980s onwards by examining several different themes and components: the early history/founders of the sport; the riders/stars and local legends; the land, land-use, environmental impact and trail building; the region and mountain biking around the Kootenays; art and film; technology and bikes; events and races; community impact; and the future of the sport and future stars.
This exhibition was expansive and created a massive impact in the community by changing the way in which history is presented in a museum, and having hundreds of people in the community not only enter the museum for the first time but involved in the development of an exhibition! The mountain bike community felt heard, beautifully represented, and were amazed by the level of the curation and the overall aesthetics of the exhibition. The most significant element is that those involved for this exhibition are now interested in what the museum is doing and how it can even more fully integrate and impact the community and broader cultural development across BC.

This exhibition not only engaged dozens of members of the Nelson mountain bike community, photographers, filmmakers and artists, and the Yaqan Nukiy Chief Louie, but also partnered with the Regional District of Central Kootenay, Freeride Entertainment, Bike Magazine, and Kootenay Mountain Culture Magazine to bring it to life. Touchstones provided dozens of school children with exceptional school tours and programming and provided the community of Nelson, and tourists who visit the mountain bike trails, opportunities to learn more about the history of the sport and region through permanent signage.