Artistic process is based on invention, improvisation in the face of design challenges. There’s a glimmer of an idea that seems exciting, worthy of an expenditure of energy. At the beginning of the process, the artist might describe that s/he can “see” or “feel” the final product. The creative process, then, is the thousand and one choices that the artist makes to arrive at the end result. More often than not – this is both the fun and despair of it – the final artistic product might be more or, unfortunately, less, than had been gloriously imagined in that first flash of inspiration. Your reaction will be the final word on that!

This exhibition was a true group creative effort by the three of us. BU had the glimmer of the idea and reached out to bring us all together, gather the resources and keep us on track. From the first, the title was our guiding light. Golden is populated today – as it was a hundred years ago – of adventurers and settlers. However, back then, the adventure had more to do with “feed your family” and “survive the month”, than with recreation.
Each of the 20 portrait images in the exhibit represents a family: a family that came to Golden before the 1920’s – and stayed. In each image, descendants cradle portraits of their ancestors. Behind them is a Golden long since disappeared. In some instances, the background image has a special resonance for the family. In others, the image gives us a glimpse of a moment experienced long ago by someone who was there.

In the end, artists must take responsibility for the choices we make during the creative process.  We three are deeply interested in, and excited by, exploring our Golden heritage, but it was CP who led the way with her deep, intuitive understanding of ‘who’ is ‘who’.

We knew we wanted to focus on families that came to the area in the early days, prospered, and whose descendants walk these streets today. We figured to keep the project manageable, we best allow for about 20 families and, as the exploration continued and family names were added, we soon realized that 1920 might be the year to aim for. CP researched and finalized a list of families and then took that to the Historical Society to consider and give us the nod that we were on the right track.


Living in a small town, the sharp understanding that we too were figuratively cradling a public trust was never far from our decision making.


CP was born and raised here and has dedicated her life to learning about Golden’s past. WP and BU are newcomers and we desperately want to be able to stay in town after this exhibit goes up on the Gallery walls… so, needless to say, we all three deliberated and discussed the consequences of each and every step along this creative path.

We acknowledge that some other Golden families also have ancestors going back in Golden before the 1920’s. We also acknowledge that the faces in these portraits do not comprehensively represent all of the cultures that are so important to Golden today. Chinese workers came into the area along with the building of the CPR in mid 1880’s and then moved on. Similarly, the first wave of Sikh men arrived in the late 1880’s to work in the new Columbia River Lumber Company mill and left when the mill shut down in 1926. Sikh families began to arrive in Golden in the late 1950’s and it is these families that have such an important impact upon today’s Golden.

There are so many, many more “adventurers & settlers” who came to Golden decades ago and whose families continue to enrich our community life. If we offend by any omission, we are deeply sorry.

While you view the images, consider this: hundreds of hours were spent by WP reviewing old negatives, prints and glass plates and then restoring those images that could survive the magnification needed for reproducing in this large scale format. We groaned as we had to discard so many wonderful images that would not look good when enlarged. But, we couldn’t resist including a side exhibit of wonderful stand-alone images that further portray lives long gone.

In closing, we offer an invitation to contribute to the exhibit with your own memories – and photographs. First, check the attic: if you have family heirloom negatives or prints, please consider dropping them off to the Museum for inclusion in the archives.

Secondly, we’ve provided opportunities for you to contribute memories, dates, and corrections. We encourage you to contribute to our collective understanding. We will do our best to include relevant information and other background family histories as part of the online exhibit.

We are deeply honoured to have been able to bring this labour of love to life. Thank you.

Colleen Palumbo, William Pitcher, Bill Usher
Assisted by Karen Flewin, Thelma Brown, Annie Tse, Maggie Calladine, Penny Pitcher