UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Bigfoot, atmosphere, and storytelling in Harrison Hot Springs' Sasquatch Museum Windhausen, Caris


The Sasquatch Museum in Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia, is a one-room gallery established in 2017 within the Tourism Harrison Greeting Centre. Though compact, the gallery makes full use of the space – the walls and ceiling are painted to mimic the forest surrounding Harrison Hot Springs, and there are three notable sections of display. The first, and largest, is the collection of material related to bigfoot hunting in BC, including eyewitness testimonials and casts of footprints. Beside this display are two smaller cases. The first case relates to the Sts'ailes (Chehalis) First Nation’s ancestral being Sa:sq’ets (Sasquatch), and includes a Sa:sq’ets mask repatriated from the Museum of Vancouver (MOV) in 2014. The final case of the museum is dedicated to primatological evidence for the existence of a bigfoot-like creature. In this thesis I answer the question: how does the Harrison Hot Springs Sasquatch Museum make use of Indigenous knowledge and imagery, western scientific data, and pop culture narratives in a highly stylized gallery atmosphere to further their particular perspective on bigfoot/Sasquatch? I will use the themes of atmosphere and folkloric narratives to develop a critical interpretation of this gallery space. This is, in part, a history and analysis of the development of the museum, sourced from interviews with Robert Reyerse (executive director of Tourism Harrison). It is also an interpretive analysis of the exhibits, as they stand today, based on my own visits. I examine how the museum displays pop cultural bigfoot narratives and Sts’ailes Sa:sq’ets ancestral knowledge, including how both interpretations come together.

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