Past Exhibits


Beehive Burners Behind Us

Paintings of Beehive Burners in Central B.C. by Lou Englehart


March 2020 - September 2020

Thousands of sawmills and planers, large and small, littered British Columbia’s landscape throughout the mid-twentieth century. Enormous amounts of sawdust, bark and other waste wood accumulated at these sites. This biproduct was buried and burned in open pits in an attempt to control the refuse. 

As a follow up to these techniques, conical steel “beehive” burners were designed to incinerate waste wood in a controlled and safe way. They soon became a fixture at almost every saw and planer mill in the province.  The many burners in Prince George produced a lot of ash and smoke which caused the atmosphere to become clouded.  

It was clear to artist, Louis J.  Englehart (1915-1989), that the technology of the beehive burner would not be utilized forever due to their environmental impact. He travelled to mill sites and created watercolor sketches of the beehive burners he saw. Englehart used these sketches as the base of the paintings exhibited here. These sketches are now stored at the Royal BC Museum. It was important to Englehart to record the B.C. landscape before the burners vanished. 

The BC government enacted the Environmental Management Act in 1997. Burners now require a permit to burn wood waste. Today there are only 33 burning facilities in B.C. Many abandoned beehive burners can still be spotted in the Central Interior of B.C. They are slowly decaying and being absorbed by the natural landscape.



Forestry in the 20th Century: Changing Technology and its Ecological Impact 

Student-led Exhibit

Dates: Mid-August 2019 - Mid-October 2019

Forestry has long been an integral part of the econimic and social climate of Central British Columbia. From booming, to beehive burners, to present technology, there have been a wide variety of tools, methods, and people involved in the forestry industry. 

This exhibit highlights the technological changes in forestry and their environmental impact since 1900. 

Through models, pictures, readings, and interactive pieces, the goal of the exhibit is to investigate how this industry embraced more effective technology while still facilitating the stewardship of available resources and meeting the needs of communities. 


Hobo Codes

Dates: May 1, 2013 -  September 7, 2013

A traveling exhibit of poetry and artwork based on hobo codes and communication, designed by Anastasia Clark, Poet-in-Residence at Broward County, Florida. The exhibit illuminates a little-known aspect of hobo life and its connection to North America’s railways, as well as its impact in B.C. “Hobos” or unemployed men who rode trains to find work were common in the United States and Canada starting in the late 1800s. The tradition of riding the rails illegally lasted throughout the Depression and well into the 1950s. Most people have seen hobos portrayed in movies or TV, but did you know that hobos had their own language to tell each other where to find food or shelter as they traveled? Visit us in May and learn more about this interesting piece of rail history.

Still on Track: 30 Years of the Railway & Forestry Museum

Dates: February 7, 2013 - September 7, 2013

How did the Railway & Forestry Museum start and how did they get all the trains?

This question and more will be answered at the Central B.C. Railway and Forestry Museum’s new exhibit, “Still On Track: 30 Years of the Railway and Forestry Museum Society.” Come learn about our fascinating history, which started in 1983 when a small group of railway enthusiasts came together to restore a 1903 snow plow and started work on the monumental task of building a new Prince George museum. The group was called the Central British Columbia Railroad Preservation and Museum Society, which later became the Central B.C. Railway & Forestry Museum.

Over the years, the society grew and adapted, adding mining and firefighting displays to the museum and working to collect all kinds of industrial artifacts. People who worked on the museum worked tirelessly, pouring their passion, dedication and thousands of volunteer hours into the museum and grounds. From the very beginning, they had a plan: to establish an exciting and informative industrial museum for the Central B.C. region. The society’s accomplishments and difficulties were recorded through the years in the museum’s monthly newsletter, appropriately named On Track.

Come and discover some of the challenges in caring for and designing an industrial museum. As you walk along the life-sized timeline of our past, you have the chance to see and touch our accomplishments, test your skills as a museum director or archivist, try restoring rail cars, build your own speeder shed, design a mini-rail line and take a photo in engineer or forester’s garb. At the end of the exhibit, share your own museum stories or read about and choose to adopt one of our future projects, which will ensure that we stay On Track to historic success.

100 Years of the BC Forest Service

Dates: Apr 11, 2012- November 17, 2012

The Central B.C. Railway and Forestry Museum is pleased to showcase a new exhibit commemorating the 100th anniversary of the B.C. Forest Service.

Established in 1912 as the Department of Lands, Forest Branch, the B.C. Forest Service has indeed changed a great deal since the early days of Rangers and Watchtowers on the frontiers of the B.C. But more important than what has changed, is what has remained the same. For nearly a century, the B.C. Forest Service has maintained their commitment to forest resource stewardship, a dedication not only to the forests themselves, but to the very future of B.C.

This exhibit examines how the B.C. Forest Service has changed over the last century; at the same time as emphasizing how it has remained the same. Specifically, it outlines the development of the various departments of the B.C. Forest Service, and demonstrates how far they have come by displaying photographs and artifacts dating back to its early days, and displaying along side them photographs and tools associated with the Forest Service today. 

Kandahar Through Afghan Eyes 2010

Dates: January 20, 2012- March 20, 2012

The Kandahar Through Afghan Eyes 2010 exhibit seeks to capture, through the eyes of the youth of Kandahar province, an alternate perspective about the realities of life in this province and to portray some of the challenges and opportunities as seen through the lens of the next generation. A team of 15 male and female students selected from schools throughout Kandahar City were trained for six weeks on the principles of photography, journalism, and Pashto literature. These students visited different parts of the province and photographed a wide range of themes such as entrepreneurial spirit, harvests, people on the move, and Kandaharis at play. They documented the daily lives of Kandaharis in a manner that is rarely seen by those living outside the province. 

The Railway and Forestry Museum invites visitors to enjoy a unique experience that resonates with families and communities. Many people in communities across Canada have a story to tell about their experiences in Afghanistan. This exhibit provides an environment in which visitors can ask questions about Afghanistan and learn about another way of life.

Railway Stations of Northern British Columbia

Dates: October 12, 2011- January 19, 2012

Railway stations were once the hub of community activity for many small towns in and around Northern British Columbia. These buildings saw dispatchers toiling in the office and signalmen directing trains and their passengers. Some stations continue to operate. However, others have been demolished or abandoned. It is doubtful these cornerstones will witness a revival of their glory days due to various shifts in transportation focus. Please join us as we take a step back in time and remember Railway Stations of Northern British Columbia.

 We acknowledge the financial assistance of the Province of British Columbia in the creation of this exhibit.

Lou Englehart's Beehive Burners

Dates: February 24, 2011- October 7, 2011

Lou Englehart with a beehive burner paintingBorn in 1915 in Cambellton, New Brunswick, Lou Englehart began sketching and painting at an early age. He studied commercial art and cartooning in Ohio before attending the Vancouver School of Art, graduating with a degree in Fine Arts in 1949. He went on to teach as an art specialist with the BC Department of Education for 25 years.

Lou Englehart traveled through the province during the 1970s and 1980s painting beehive burners. A symbol of the lumber industry in British Columbia, the burners were slowly disappearing as forestry practices changed. In many cases these paintings are the last remaining documentation of these vanished structures.

The Englehart family has generously donated a selection of paintings of local burners. 

Watch interviews with Lou Englehart on CBC television: