The majority of Revelstoke’s quality museums make predictable sense. There’s the Revelstoke Railway Museum which highlights our rail heritage, the B.C. Interior Forestry Museum that sheds light on our forestry roots and the Revelstoke Museum & Archives that explores the history of all things Revelstoke.
Then there’s Revelstoke’s Nickelodeon Museum. Housed in a former grand pool hall in the historic McKinnon Building, the museum is a world-class collection of antique mechanical music devices, ranging from barrel organs from the 1700s to a collection of noteworthy jukeboxes from the 1950s.
This exceptional museum is the life work of Lesley and David Evans, who shipped their collection of hundreds upon hundreds of unique, noteworthy and often world-class music pieces to Revelstoke from England in four large shipping containers less than a decade ago.
The Adams’ took me on a nearly two-hour musical tour of their museum, and we only explored a fraction of the works in the main hall. These include music boxes, player pianos, church organs, jukeboxes, barrel organs, dance organs, mechanical violins and many more.
“Things find us when they lose their voice,” says Lesley. The technical ingenuity that went into many of the pieces is mind-blowing, way too much for the average person to comprehend fixing. Many of the display pieces were acquired when they were in musical disrepair and have been painstakingly restored by these world-renowned experts. They serve as consultants to Antiques Roadshow.
Their tour is informative and, refreshingly, is peppered with distinctly English humour. You can follow their lead through the tour, or ask questions and focus on a specific piece. If you’re like me, you’ll stare at the bits, bobs and whirling parts that make up some of the more technical pieces and marvel at the ingenuity and technical tenacity that drove their inventors.
If you call yourself a musician, Revelstoke’s Nickelodeon Museum is a must see. If you’re looking for a unique experience, it’s also for you.
Revelstoke Nickelodeon Museum, 250-837-5250, 111 First Street West, www.revelstokenickelodeon.com