White Bears and Other Curiosities

Peter Corley-Smith


The intention of this book, says historian and author Peter Corley-Smith in the preface, is “to celebrate the people who founded the museum and the people who kept it alive through wars and depressions, as well as those who helped to make it prosper and grow in the good times.”

1989, paperback, 152 pages

b/w illustrations and photographs

ISBN 978-0-7718-8740-6

Category: .

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White Bears chronicles the Royal BC Museum’s accomplishments since 1886, when 30 prominent citizens petitioned the government to establish a provincial museum. The title comes from the museum’s longest serving curator/director (1904-40), Frances Kermode, and his involvment in the discovery of the coastal white bear. Was it a new species or a subspecies of the Black Bear or merely a colour variation of that species? The debate contunued for decades, and still persists. This book reveals the early history of this mystery, as well as some other fascinating stories associated with the first 100 years of our provincial museum.


About the author:

Peter Corley-Smith (1923-2002) is best known for his books on British Columbia’s aviation history, including Barnstorming to Bush Flying: British Columbia’s Aviation Pioneers 1910-1930 and Helicopters: The British Columbia Story (with Dave Parker).



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