A former powder magazine on historic Cole Island in Esquimalt Harbour became a venue for learners studying cultural resource management last week. The field-based one week immersion university-level credit course offered through UVic’s Department of Continuing Studies, is a first for B.C.
The curriculum, developed with financial assistance from the Province, teaches state-of-the-art buildings conservation through a hybrid of hands-on learning and traditional classroom work. Learners study historic materials science, methods of construction, and repair specification - skills that will influence future career choices.
Course participant Sarah Taylor found the immersive learning experience more engaging than the traditional learning environment: “We got to work on some of the oldest buildings in B.C. - this was an unforgettable learning experience.”
Course instructors Gord Macdonald and Ben Gourley brought world-class conservation knowledge and practical experience. Macdonald, a historic timber specialist and accomplished craftsman led conservation efforts at Windsor Castle after the devastating fire and in British Columbia, as the ‘voice’ of the Kinsol Trestle. Previously, Gourley taught the masters program at the University of York Institute of Advanced Architectural Studies drawing from an extensive career in conservation, recording and analysis of buildings archaeology Uvic’s Director of Cultural Management Programs, Tania Muir describes the field-based learning environment as a foundation of critical thinking, and an educational model that is emerging in North America and Europe.
Cole Island served as the naval magazine for the storage of munitions from the 1856 to 1928. The island contains the remains of British Columbia’s oldest military buildings. It is both designated provincially and is part of the Esquimalt Naval Sites National Historic Site. The Province acquired the island in the 1980s and since 2010 has overseen a systematic program of conservation.
Friends of Cole Island: http://www.coleisland.ca/
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations