The Cowichan Lake Community Forest Co-operative is asking retired and active loggers in and around Duncan for financial help to support an expansion of the Kaatza Museum in Lake Cowichan to house the Wilmer Gold collection of photographs as well as 250 banker boxes holding the B.C. and national collection of photographs assembled over the years by the IWA and the International Steelworkers.
The Kaatza Historical Society has embarked on a $110,000 expansion to safely preserve in controlled refrigeration the collection of the over 1,000 negatives that comprise the Gold collection, shelving the union collection in preparation for eventual cataloguing.
The Community Forest Co-operative has pledged to match every personal donation made towards the project, up to a total maximum of $30,000 – provided the donation is made prior to the end of 2015.
Co-op chairman Lorne Scheffer is proud to see this collection come to the Cowichan Lake area, a cradle of the IWA.
"We exist as a forest co-operative in order to deliver benefits to local communities and local loggers – and all workers in the forest industry – and we believe it is important to preserve this historic record," Scheffer said.
Gold’s work appeared in Time, Life, Look and MacLean’s magazines. He also authored the book Logging As It Was containing many of his photographs, which traced the lives of the loggers and evolution of logging on Vancouver Island. He died on April 14, 1992, just a few weeks short of his 99th birthday.
During his working life, Gold had a portable developing lab custom built and towed it behind his car.
This trailer has been restored and can be seen at the Kaatza Museum as well.
To help sponsor the museum’s expansion, check out kaatzamuseum.ca for more information.