The Courtenay and District Museum is hosting “Finding a Voice: Gender, Sexuality and Music Through the Work of Elinor Dunsmuir,” a travelling exhibition produced by Craigdarroch Castle.

The exhibit offers new insight into the Dunsmuir family through the story and music of the coal baron’s talented granddaughter, Elinor, who studied in Europe and became an accomplished musician and composer.

Elinor (1887-1938) chose to march to her own drummer, cutting her hair short, wearing men’s clothes, smoking cigars and developing a taste for drink and gambling. Her circle in Europe accepted her homosexuality and she became known in the casinos as la riche canadienne.

“Tying into broader issues around social change and identity, the exhibition will look at Elinor’s works from a musicological perspective, as well as using Elinor’s life as a framework to explore how her experience — as both a woman and a member of the LGBTQ2 community — shaped her life and her experience as a composer,” says exhibition curator Danielle MacKenzie.

Finding a Voice will be on exhibit until October 17, 2020.

Please note open hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm.

The Courtenay Museum is located at 207 Fourth Street in downtown Courtenay. Admission by donation. FMI: please check website or call 250-334-0686 ext. 2.

Catherine Siba

Curator Social History, Courtenay and District Museum