In 2001, two young boys discovered a dinosaur track along the bedrock in Flatbed Creek, in Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia. The boys' incredible story immediately attracted national headlines, and a paleontologist quickly arrived on the scene. Once the Tumbler Ridge residents began to realize that the wealth of artifacts would continue to grow, the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation was created and they began to develop a palaeontological research facility and tourism center. Displays were created in the Tumbler Ridge Community Centre, trails were built to the dinosaur footprint field sites, and guided tours were offered.
It quickly became apparent that a new larger location needed to be built to house the growing number of artifacts. This initial expansion project was the first phase of this multi-year community infrastructure project. Under the first phase of this project, a local decommissioned elementary school was transformed into the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre and Dinosaur Discovery Gallery. As one can imagine, the upgrades needed for a project of this size were quite extensive and after the move of the Centre to the former elementary school, a second phase including renovations and exhibit development was undertaken. In May 2011, the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation commenced the third phase of renovations and upgrades to the building.
The third phase involves further renovations to the interior and exterior of the building as well as the construction of a new collections building. The new collections building provides the storage space required for the growing number of palaeontology collections as the existing space was already at capacity.
This project is part of a multi-year expansion that has been supported through two additional investments by Northern Development for Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation projects: