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Public Programs

From Asian Heritage Month celebrations to Yoga in the Museum, family programs, to art workshops for adults, Touchstones Nelson really does have something for everyone.

We are in the process of reimagining our current website. For the most up-to-date information on our public programming, please visit our Facebook Page. Events are updated regularly. 





Touchstones Nelson: Museum of Art and History is hosting the second instalment of a mural residency program which kicks off this August. New Echoes in the Staircase invites a local (Nelson and Area) artist into one of the building’s heritage staircases that was once used daily in earlier days, but is now a liminal space no longer seen by the public.

The purpose of the project is to invoke conversations about access, behind-the-scenes work, the potential history and power contained in a building, (mis)representation and voice in historical buildings/organizations, and many other important topics. The artist-in-residence will have access to a section of wall along the staircase to add to this critical conversation.

The project will include an artist studio tour and discussion (made available to the public via video), a workshop component, and a site-specific mural in the staircase. It will also support the work of local artists through an artist-in-residency program – connecting professional artists with the community at large in a unique environment.

Touchstones Nelson Museum will be following the Work Safe BC guidelines for safe working environments as well as Interior Health COVID-19 health and safety protocols for the artist, staff, and volunteers.

To apply, please send a proposal, 5-10 portfolio images, and artist statement or a curator statement, biography and current CV to The deadline to apply is Tuesday, September 1, 2020, with work commencing on September 8. Full submission guidelines can be found here.


Touchstones Nelson: Museum of Art and History invites you to participate in the Tom Thomson En Plein Air Challenge this summer. July 8th marks the day in 1917 that Tom Thomson paddled out onto Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park, Ontario and never returned. There is much mystery surrounding his death and burial, but the importance of his contribution to the early art scene in Canada is clear. Come enjoy the exhibition, Paul Walde’s Tom Thomson Centennial Swim, in Gallery A from March 7 – September 20, 2020.

We invite you to spend some time painting, drawing and/or creating En Plein Air. Share images of your creative process and/or finished work by emailing: We will share these images on social media over the summer. There will be a prize of a $50 gift certificate to the Touchstones Nelson Museum gift shop. Each participants will be entered in a draw to win the prize. Each submission equals one ticket. This challenge is open to all mediums and levels.




As shops begin to reopen and children begin to spend time in classrooms, we encourage youth and adults alike to take some time to reflect on the last weeks and months, and to document a bit about what was unique to you. 

The Touchstones Nelson Museum Time Capsule booklet will be available for free at the museum’s main entrance, or you can download your own here.  Create your capsule and share your photos! 



For years, Asian Heritage Month has been celebrated at Touchstones Nelson Museum through performance, collection displays and films. This year, in a welcome addition to the film series Capturing Art and History, the Museum will add two new films and relaunch Through These Eyes, an introspective look into the experiences of five Asian youth in Nelson. Through These Eyes was created as part of a collaboration with the Museum, the Capitol Theatre, filmmaker Lynn Trinh and author, performer and community activist Diana Cole. The message of this important film is as relevant today as it was at its inception in 2018. Partnering with Watershed Productions, the two new films capture the stories of two individuals – Yosh Tagami and Miyo Mori. Yosh is renowned in the area for his work shedding light on the history of Japanese internment in this region. He is also largely responsible for ensuring historical sites in the Slocan Valley received monuments and informational markers. His film is centred on his family albums; his story is told with the help of his daughter, Wendy Tagami. “I think projects like this are very important, since many people who have suffered do not wish to share their stories with their children,” she wrote, “and projects like this one is one way we get a glimpse of what our parents endured.” Miyo’s story is portrayed through a series of illustrations created by Japanese artist Kikuno Major, who is now studying at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. The Capturing Art and History program is an ongoing documentary filmmaking project which documents the diversity of local cultural, social and environmental histories and the beauty of artistic practice in the region. Capturing Art and History has facilitated the production of six films to date, which are all available to stream free of charge on the Museum website. The role of the Museum is to not only to share the past, but also to ensure the past is held to a contemporary social lens; to facilitate and support open discussion about the best and the worst parts of Canadian history. In today’s social landscape, it is crucial to find ways to move forward with grace and humanity, without repeating the mistakes of the past. “It has been exceptional working with local filmmakers and community members to capture the diversity of stories and artistic practice for posterity, says Astrid Hayerdahl, Executive Director of Touchstone Nelson Museum. “It is our role as the Museum and Archives of the region to capture stories before they are lost, as well as to document history as it is being made. We look forward to continuing this important work for the community.” The Watershed Productions team for these two films included Amy Bohigian, Bryan Webb and Ben Euerby. Touchstones Nelson Museum would also like to thank the sponsors of the Capturing Art and History program from 2017 onwards: Paul Lindsay and Kathy Alexander, the Osprey Foundation, and the RDCK. “We love to give voices to people who haven’t traditionally been given space to tell their stories,” says Bohigian, Director at Watershed. “These two films are both a testament to the resilience of these incredible individuals and teach us what people are capable of during crisis and upheaval.”



Our building has been closed but Touchstones Nelson Museum has continued to offer programming on a new platform. Public Programs Coordinator Stephanie Myers produced a three-part series on making underwater diorama, inspired by the exhibition in Gallery A – Tom Thomson: Centennial Swim by Paul Walde. 


MARCH 1, 11 am to 3 pm

Touchstones Museum of Art and History will be hosting Museum Mash – the bi-annual day of FREE family programming – on Sunday, March 1st. From 11am to 3pm the whole building will be open to the public; even the historic third floor will be available for a quiet/ breastfeeding/ colouring and stroller parking area.

Performances include opera singer Rachel DeShon, Dance Umbrella, kids performers, shadow puppets, stamp workshops, card making and so much more. 

Touchstones Museum is partnering with the Nelson Community Food Centre for the March Museum Mash. In support of the work that the Nelson Food Community Centre does through their Harvest Rescue, Food Skills, Garden and Good Food Bank programs, visitors are asked to bring a cash or food donation. 100% of these donations will go to the Centre. Donations of over $20 will receive a tax receipt.

“After the outpouring of generosity that comes in December, support for organizations like ours is particularly welcome in the months that follow,” Andrew O. Creighton, Community Relations Manager for the Nelson Community Food Centre explains. “With our Food Skills and Good Food Bank programs running all year (and the Garden and Harvest Rescue happening for 3-or-so months), support—especially financial—is appreciated year-round.” 

Thanks to grants, donations and volunteers, the majority of public programming offered at Touchstones Museum is free. This programming includes barrier-free events, workshops, performances, artist talks, and demonstrations to the community at large. 

The Museum also strives to support community organizations if they are struggling with putting food on the table and this partnership achieves both. Museum Mash is and will remain free to everyone, but participants are encouraged to support the Nelson Food Community Centre, the work they do and the services they provide.

Bring the whole family to your museum, gallery, and archive for a full day of FREE family programming, for the smallest to the tallest. Look for program detail on the Touchstones Facebook page or sign up for the Museum newsletter at and don’t miss any public programming. 


OCTOBER 17, 7 pm

On Thursday, October 17 at 7 pm, join award-winning author Dr Shepherd Siegel at Touchstones Nelson: Museum of Art and History, for an evening filled with singing, listening, dancing, appearing – and disappearing – and discussion of his latest book Disruptive Play:The Trickster in Politics and Culture.

Disruptive Play journeys from ancient folkloric appearances of Tricksters such as Raven and Èṣù-Elegba, to their confined role in Western civilization, and then on to Trickster’s 20th century jailbreak as led by dada, the beats and the hippies. Disruptive Play bears witness to how this spirit informs social progress today, whether by Anonymous, Banksy, Bugs Bunny, or unrevealed mischief-makers and culture jammers. According to Dr. Siegel; “Such play is revolutionary and lights the path to a transformed society.”

Dr. Siegel is a writer, a rock and jazz musician, and educator, earning degrees at UC Santa Cruz and San Francisco State University, and his doctorate at UC Berkeley. He has over thirty publications, including Career Ladders, and has won numerous awards. He led Career and Technical Education for Seattle Public Schools for sixteen years. He returned to his countercultural roots to write Disruptive Play and spread its message of playfulness and progressive change.


OCTOBER 10, 10 am to 8 pm

We are inviting you to join us celebrating thirteen years at 502 Vernon Street. 

On Thursday, Oct 10th from 10 am to 8 pm the community is invited to enjoy free admission all day, and cake and refreshments at 4:30 pm with musical performances and a tour to follow.

Join staff, board, volunteers, members, and donors as they celebrate the 13th anniversary of the big move in 2006 to their current location. It was a dedicated crew who envisioned transforming the former post office and city hall into a cultural hub that would house the public museum, galleries, and archive collections. Over a decade later, they continue to exhibit extraordinary art by exceptional artists, support local artisans in the Shop, and fascinate visitors with information from the Shawn Lamb Archives and the museum. Happy Birthday!


Join Touchstones Aboriginal Educator Toni Appleby as she leads children through various events at Kokanee Creek Park this week. Sessions run from 10 am to 2 pm; spaces are limited and are first come, first served so arrive early. 

Children younger than 9 years old will need a parent present; children 9 an up can stay unaccompanied for the duration of the session.

Monday: create a pine needle basket. ($20 for materials per basket)

Tuesday: botany walk – see Kokanee like you never have before as you learn from Wildlife Technician and Métis Traditional Knowledge holder Toni Appleby.

Wednesday: feather craft – create a colourful feather garland

Thursday: birch bark knife sheath – bring your own knife and create a beautiful holder for it out of birch bark

Friday:create a pine needle basket. ($20 for materials per basket)

canada day at the park

Join Touchstones Nelson at Lakeside Park from 9am – 3pm for the Canada Day celebration! We will have numerous crafts for people to partake in, including Stix painting on local slate slabs and Dog Bane Rope making with locally harvested Dog Bane, hosted by Toni Appleby our Indigenous Educator. We’ll also have a button maker!

The Touchstones tent will have a list of 150 Acts of Reconciliation posted. Many of these are small, everyday acts that average Canadians can undertake, and all are intended to encourage people to think about Indigenous-settler relationships in new ways.


totem talks: regional wildlife series

Do you love bears and want to know more about them? Did you know we share this area with wolves and cougars? And what do you know about the elusive Mountain Caribou?

Join Touchstones Museum Indigenous Educator and Wildlife Technician Toni Appleby as she shares stories from years studying, tracking, and reporting on regional wildlife and the knowledge she gained. This series is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the wildlife we share this area with from someone who has spent much of her life learning their secrets.

This five part FREE series runs on Thursday evenings from 6 to 8 pm and covers four animals in depth. Starting with the bear on Thursday, June 13, followed by the wolf on June 20, the cougar on June 27 and the mountain caribou on July 4. On Thursday, July 11 the discussion continues as Toni discusses the raven.

Toni now works for our local school district with Aboriginal youth as the Cultural Coordinator of Programming and Curriculum Development. She leads classes in Caribou Hair Tufting, Métis flower beadwork, Pine needle basketry, Animal Tracking, Totems and Animal Spirits, and much more.

These presentations are not to be missed if you have a curiosity about our regional wildlife and interest in Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK).

Youth Arts Hub

Attention youth artists! Please join us for the Youth Arts Hub series, where each month a different local arts organization will be presenting a free workshop for youth 12-18 years old. For more information on the upcoming events go to Or visit the YAH Facebook page at

The Hub is a new collaborative project with Oxygen Art Centre, Elephant Mountain Literary Festival, Nelson & District Youth Centre, Nelson & District Arts Council, Nelson Public Library, Black Productions and Touchstones Nelson – Museum of Art and History.

Check back often or visit us on Facebook for more information about programs.