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Nelson’s Cold War Bunker honoured at Heritage BC Awards

By Contributor
June 7th, 2021

Nelson’s Cold War Bunker may be a time capsule into the past, but it is also stirring quite a bit of interest in the present day.

Touchstones Nelson: Museum of Art and History has earned the Honour award in the Education, Communications, and Awareness category at the Annual Heritage BC Awards. T

he award, announced on May 27 at the Heritage BC virtual conference, marks the second recognition the Bunker has received since the space opened in October 2020.  

“We are honoured that our Cold War Bunker project has been recognized within the provincial Museum and Heritage sector through the Heritage BC Awards. We are thrilled to be included within the Education, Communication and Awareness category because the Bunker is indeed a complex and multi-dimensional project that goes far beyond the confines of any one traditional category,” said Touchstones Nelson Executive Director Astrid Heyerdahl.

“The Bunker is certainly a conventional collections management project, but it is also an exhibition, an educational workshop space, a place for performative/social justice response, and a restored heritage site—it is an intriguing venue that holds the context of its original era, while entreating critical response from our current contemporary political context.”   

Few people knew about the existence of Nelson’s own bunker, until 2013 when Touchstones Nelson Museum began offering private tours. Since then, the Museum staff and board have been working to preserve and prepare the space for public viewing. After many years of planning, the Cold War Bunker has opened to the public as a permanent museum exhibition and heritage site.

“It has been fascinating uncovering the story of this largely unknown part of Nelson’s history,” says Jean-Philippe Stienne, Archivist and Collections Manager at Touchstones Nelson Museum.

“I am delighted that we are able to finally share the secrets of the bunker with the community, and welcome visitors into this Cold War era time capsule of the 1960s.”

Guided Bunker tours are currently being offered on Saturdays at 11 a.m., and can be pre-booked by email to or by calling 250-352-9813.

The space is open to the public Saturdays from 12-4 p.m. For more information about the Cold War Bunker, exhibitions, and programming please visit

Photo courtesy Madeleine Guenette

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