Due to changing dynamics as a result of the current Covid-19 pandemic, Barkerville Historic Town & Park and Cottonwood House Historic have modified their operating hours, public programming, and service amenities. Please visit our Hours & Rates section for details on entrance restrictions and availability of amenities on the site.
Our exhibits and public programs will look a little different this season:
- Only those exhibits that can be safely accessed with proper social distancing measures in place will be open
- The large-scale presentations and public events usually designed for bigger crowds have been suspended
- The special events schedule in 2021 has been suspended
- Our team of historical interpreters will be stationed throughout the site in ways that provide entertaining and engaging, short-duration conversations and demonstrations.
While our public programming model in 2021 will be very different than what visitors are used to, we believe this programming will create a very safe, personal, and memorable experience for our visitors.
Main Season Public Programming
Due to COVID-19, a completely revamped model for our exhibits and public programs was released in 2020 and will continue in 2021.
The information below reflects previous years’ programming and is posted for reference only. These programs will not be available on the site in 2021.
Victorian Town Tour
Absorb an in-depth understanding of the gold rush history, Barkerville, and the colourful characters of years past by attending one of our enlightening and entertaining town tours, hosted by Barkerville’s historical interpreters. The tour is highly recommended for first-time visitors. Tours begin at in front of the Pavilion building and last approximately 70 minutes.
The 1870s are approaching, and the glory days of the 1860s gold rush are beginning to wane. The future of British Columbia seems uncertain as separation from the British Empire becomes a likely possibility. Debates erupt about whether British Columbia should remain a colony of Britain, annex with the United States, or join the newly-formed nation of Canada.
Evolution of Edwardian Underwear
Have you ever wondered about the What? the How? and the Why-on-Earth? of Victorian and Edwardian under-garments? You will get some of the answers in this ½ hour-long presentation held Thursday through Sunday at noon.
Barkerville Cemetery Tour
Meet Reverend Reynard at the Anglican Church and journey on a 1 km walking tour to Barkerville’s original cemetery; the final resting place of Barkerville’s famous (and not-so-famous) residents and one of the most interesting historic cemeteries in British Columbia.
Williams Creek Schoolhouse
Experience school like it was when Barkerville was thriving. All are welcome to attend this authentic classroom session. Line up at the schoolhouse doors when you hear the school teacher ringing the bell. Don’t be late, and kindly remove your hats before entering.
Come on in and visit with Miss Wendel and others while they bake and cook on an authentic wood stove. Arrive at just the right time and you may get to have a taste. See household chores get done the way your ancestors used to do them. You might even have a chance to lend a hand.
Barkerville Pickwick Club
“The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club” is the first novel published by the famous Charles Dickens. Pickwick Clubs celebrating his work formed around the world as his popularity grew. The Barkerville Pickwick Club published several articles in the Cariboo Sentinel pertaining to topics from their meetings. We give new life to these gatherings 150 years later.
Anglican Church Services
St. Saviour’s Anglican Church is one of Barkerville’s most recognizable buildings, and is still made up of all original woodwork. Services take place on most days at St. Saviour’s, and are performed by a student of the Anglican Church, playing the role of Reverend Reynard. Enjoy a moment of prayer like the miners used to do. Please come by for a service.
Gold rushes inspire a wealth of music and poetry. Join our townspeople as they offer up a collection of gold rush music that spans the ages.
See the archaeological screening of the Chinatown refuse pile and learn about the various types of artifacts that may be uncovered. Discuss the importance of the Heritage Conservation Act and why artifacts are not to be removed from the park. Learn about what happens to the artifacts after they have been collected each day, to be researched, cleaned, sorted, counted and catalogued.
A member of the community is eager to gather the people of Barkerville for a photograph that is destined for the Colonial Secretary residing in England, but the local choir does not appreciate being asked to accommodate an outdated camera. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the choir master, seeds of betrayal are brewing within the choir’s ranks.
Indigenous Cultural Session
Dahooja, Weyt-kp, Hadih! Barkerville is located in the shared territory of seven nations: Lhtako, Nazko, Lhoosk’uz, Ulkatcho, ?Esdilagh, Xatśūll, Simpcw, and Lheidli. We invite you to learn our stories and our role in the gold rush.
Enjoy a fascinating exploration of one of Canada’s oldest Chinatowns. Find out more about the life of Chinese miners and merchants in Barkerville, and how their culture was maintained and adapted to the rugged land of the Cariboo. To join in on the tour, meet in front of the Lung Duck Tong restaurant.
Chinese School Lessons
School is in session at the Chinese School house. Come and learn about the spoken Chinese language, Chinese calligraphy and how to do math on an abacus.
Chinese Cultural Sessions
Want to learn more about the culture of the Chinese and the practices they brought with them to the Gold Rush? Learn about the Chinese tea culture, Tai chi and Tai chi Sword. Chinese music and performances, Chinese chess, herbal medicine the list goes on.
The fascinating tale of John Angus “Cariboo Cameron” whose fortune came to a terrible cost. Cariboo Cameron joins us for special weekends only, so check the show times for details.
Mining and the Gold Rush Economy
The Billy Barker Story
By 1862, the gold rush on William’s Creek is well underway in Richfield but the lower banks of the creek have failed to produce any findings of worth, until Billy Barker and his company of miners strike pay dirt at depths far deeper than any other miner has dug. Hear the story of the English waterman who sparks the creation of a community that grows to be the heart of the great Cariboo Gold Rush.
Amazing Tales from the Gold Rush Trail
A historical overview of British Columbia’s Gold Rush. A chronicle of the events and people who prospected their way to Williams Creek and how they followed the geological indicators to the fabulous riches of the Cariboo Gold Fields.
See deep shaft placer mining in this lively demonstration of 1870s technology using an authentic wooden Cornish Waterwheel. Learn about the geological conditions that brought gold seekers to the Cariboo, as well as working conditions of an underground mining operation, in a comical and entertaining presentation that is fascinating for the whole family.
The Cariboo Goldfields Ltd. Annual General Meeting
Come witness the Titanic’s of Williams Creek, as representatives of Cariboo Goldfields Ltd describe to you how your investment has enabled the company to plunder the fabulous riches of lower Williams Creek.
Cameron & Ames Blacksmith Shop
Experience a working 1870s Blacksmith Shop! Hear the anvil chorus and smell the sizzle of hot metal smoke. Handcrafted iron works are available for purchase.
Novas to Nuggets
For millennia, gold has captured our imaginations and sent us searching to the edges of the world and digging to the very depths of the globe. But where did gold come from? The answer is a tale as old as the cosmos itself that will take you from the forging of heavy elements within the hot furnaces of stars to the immense powers of glaciation during the last ice age.
Cariboo Sentinel Newspaper Shop
Founded in 1865, the Cariboo Sentinel newspaper runs for 10 years and reaches global circulation. Visit the print shop to purchase custom-made paper items and also see the editor setting type and operating an original platen press.
Mining on Williams Creek
A discourse on the gold mining that took place on Williams Creek between 1862 and 1870.
Methodist Court Sessions & Trials
Learn about early justice in the Colony of British Columbia. Let the notorious Judge Begbie and his assistants deliver anecdotes about Barkerville’s criminals and infamous characters or witness an re-enactment of an historical trial
Richfield Court Sessions & Trials
When the road opens up in the summer and fall, you can travel to the historic Richfield Courthouse by foot or by wagon to visit with the judges and take in our early justice interpretation.
Due to COVID-19, Theatre Royal programming is unavailable in 2020.
Due to COVID-19, the following programs are unavailable in 2020
Gold Panning Lesson
Get a taste of the Barkerville Gold Rush. Take a step back in history and learn how to gold pan with the old gold miners at the Eldorado Gold Panning and Gift Shop. Pan for a sample of gold to take home. $10 per lesson.
Come into the gift shop and choose from a variety of items available for purchase.
Barnard's Express Stage Lines
Francis Jones Barnard’s B.X. Express freighting company shaped communication and travel to and from Barkerville and was the main cartage and passenger service on the Cariboo Waggon Road. Take a horse-drawn tour of Barkerville in an authentic stagecoach, or book a return trip to see Judge Begbie at the Richfield Courthouse!
Travel back in time for a lesson in basics of heritage blacksmithing at the Cameron & Ames Blacksmith Shop. Learn the tools of the trade and work one-on-one with Mr. O’Connell to create your own unique ironwork piece. Participate on your own or invite a friend to join you in this private apprenticeship session.
Printing Press Workshop
Travel back in time for a lesson in operating an 1890s printing press at the Cariboo Sentinel Printing Shop. Learn the tools of the trade and work one-on-one with Mr. Holloway to create your own unique poster and set of custom greeting cards. Participate on your own or invite up to two friends to join you in this private apprenticeship session.
Heritage Cooking Lessons
Travel back in time and join Miss Wendle in her heritage home for a 2.5-hour, hands-on, private Victorian cooking class. Learn the basics of planning a menu, setting a table, and preparing a sample dish for a Victorian-style dinner party in 1880s, Barkerville. Reward yourself with a sample of your culinary creation.