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Chills and underwater thrills at Britannia Mine Museum's Halloween exhibit

Get your rocks scared off at the Halloween exhibit starting Oct. 15; tickets go on sale Sept. 19. 

Perhaps, some folks with extreme claustrophobia may find Britannia Mine's usual underground tour a wee bit scary, but the museum is typically not considered a spooky or frightening place. 

But the creative folks in charge of the seasonal exhibits are working to add a little spook to the mine for Halloween with its Spoo-ook-tacular Halloween — Treasures of the Deep event. 

Not to worry, though, this exhibit is the fun kind of scary — fit for kids — not the petrify-your-little-sister-to-the-point-she-needs-therapy type of scary. 

The Squamish Chief recently visited Troy Lynn, Laura Minta Holland and Louis-Charles Poudrette in the mine's maintenance shop, which was a hive — er, cauldron — of activity.  

This day, work was underway creating Halloween-inspired sea creatures. 

At least 10 large marine residents will be displayed for Halloween. 

Lynn, a maintenance technician who has been with the museum for two years, was elbow-deep in paper mâché (fun fact: made using The Squamish Chief newspaper). 

"I'm paper mâché-ing every day, all day... for the last 12 days," Lynn said with a smile. 

The maintenance shop has four core folks working on this display, but lots of other folks at the mine pitch in when they can, said Holland, the curator for collections and engagement for the museum.

Lynn looked at photos to create most of the marine animals, he said. 

While some of the sea creatures, such as the six-gill shark that is native to Howe Sound, are true to life, like eerie nightmares, other creatures are not all true to scale. 

The anglerfish, for example, is much bigger than it would be in real life. 

To create each creature, the artists use Coroplast, which is a material signs are often made out of, zap straps and chicken wire, then papier-mâché is applied and finally painted.  

The team prides itself on reducing and reusing. 

Things that were used in the winter holiday display, for example, will be repurposed for Halloween (See if you can spot a repurposed snow globe). 

"We tend to recycle and reuse everything," Lynn said, adding the most expensive part of the display was likely all the flour. 

The machine shop will be transformed into a coral and glass sponge reef. 

Creating the October exhibit started before kids were back at school and will continue right up until before the show starts — that is six to eight weeks of preparation. 

Festivities at the museum will run for six days, with spooky activities to chill and thrill ghosts and goblins of all ages.

There's a Sunken Machine Shop where folks can see a fantastical shipwreck — not based on any real wreck, to be clear — and the Science of the Seafloor show. 

"We'll basically split the shipwreck across the machine shop," explained Holland. "So people will be able to move through the shipwreck, engage with some things — there's going to be photo opportunities for them to take photos in darker spaces and lighter spaces. 

But like all things at the museum, there will be an educational component. 

"In our submarine, that's where some of the education team will be presenting different things about how, basically — obviously with a clear connection to Britannia — how minerals are made at the bottom of the ocean, and then how they are transferred through plate tectonics into mountains. So we're going all the way from the deep ocean, all the way up into the mountains," Holland said. 

There also may be a nod to things under pressure demonstrated with exploding pumpkins. 

The mine's Terra Lab has become the Terror Lab (get it?) with a real killer whale skeleton attendees can try to put back together — spooktacular!

Tickets go on sale Sept. 19. 

The exhibit runs Oct. 15, 16, 22, 23, 29 and 30. 

Buying tickets online ahead is always a good idea as these seasonal exhibits sell out quickly. 

Find out more on the event’s website.


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