The Britannia Mine Museum summer exhibit explores the antimicrobial properties of copper and how it has been used in the battle against superbugs and other diseases throughout history.
Britannia Mine Museum Summer Exhibit – Copper: Bug Buster
“Copper: Bug Buster” launches Saturday, July 18th (until Sunday, September 13th) inside the Museum’s Machine Shop and delves into copper’s bug busting capabilities and the role it played in medicine as an antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal metal. For over three thousand years, civilizations around the world have used copper and its minerals in health remedies. The exhibit also asks the question whether copper can be used to help in the battle against COVID-19.
“Our Museum’s curator and her team assembled some fascinating facts and science about the antimicrobial properties of copper, and how the metal has played a role in medicine throughout history,” says Kirstin Clausen, Executive Director of the Britannia Mine Museum. “We felt it was fitting, since the Britannia Mine was a copper mine.”
Here are some interesting facts about copper that the exhibit will explore:
- In ancient Egypt, green mineral malachite (copper carbonate) was ground up and used as an eye makeup, and supposedly also prevented eye infections.
- Another treatment speaks of soldiers in battle having wounds sterilized with malachite.
- The Incas disinfected wounds with gauze soaked in copper sulphate solution.
- The Aztecs gargled with a copper solution to treat sore throats.
- In ancient Greece, they recorded the first use of copper bracelets for arthritis.
- In ancient Rome, Pliny the Elder’s works recorded around one hundred and fifty copper-based remedies, and skin conditions and tonsillitis were said to be treated.
- In modern times, research has shown that when a virus or bacteria lands on copper, the metal releases electrically charged particles, which destroys the cell membrane, then the DNA and RNA inside.
- Copper has also been proven to kill Ebola, MRSA, E. coli and norovirus. A recent study found that SARS-CoV-2 – the virus causing COVID-19 – lasted only four hours on a copper surface compared with 48 hours on stainless steel or 72 hours on plastic. Could copper be useful in the fight against COVID-19?
The Britannia Mine Museum is currently open to the public with appropriate COVID-19 safety measures and procedures in place. This includes enhanced staff training, opening with limited attendance and tour sizes, advanced ticketing and reservation required, accommodating appropriate physical distancing, and implementing site sanitation protocols.
Operating hours are 9:00am to 5:30pm with limited guided tours and BOOM! showings in order to maintain proper physical distancing. Check the Museum’s website for specific tour times and to purchase tickets in advance.
Visitors can enjoy fun, educational exhibits, attractions and crowd favourites, like:
- BOOM! Mill Show: A live-action, multi-sensory special effects experience that brings the historic 20-storey Mill building back to life, transporting visitors back in time to the 1920s when the Mine was booming as the largest copper producer in the British Commonwealth.
- Historic Mill Building: A National Historic Site and one of the last remaining gravity-fed concentrator mills in North America, the 20-storey Mill building has been the symbol of Britannia throughout the years. Restored in 2007, each of the 14,416 panes of glass was hand-puttied into the frames to maintain its heritage and the building can be seen from miles away on the Sea-to-Sky highway.
- Underground Mine & Train Ride: A memorable underground train that takes visitors deep inside a mining tunnel where they will experience what life was like for miners in the 70 years Britannia existed as a mine.
- Beaty-Lundin Visitor Centre: The central exhibit hall that houses several mining displays, a mineral gallery, theatre space, and gift shop.
- Machine Shop – The 1908 Machine Shop is home to a number of historic machines and equipment donated by mining companies from across the country.
- The Britannia Story Building – A fully restored heritage building that features the stories of the Britannia Beach community ranging from love letters and antiques to historic photos and videos of former Copper Queens, showcasing what life was like in the old mining town.
- Gold Panning Area – A scenic boardwalk and cedar-post covered area where people can spend hours panning for gems and real gold.
Follow the Britannia Mine Museum on Facebook and Twitter for updates. The Museum is located right off the Sea to Sky Highway at 1 Forbes Way, Britannia Beach.
Enter to Win an Annual Family Pass
I have a family pass to give away! It includes admission for 2 adults and 3 children (value $160) that is good for unlimited visits for the year. Here’s how you can enter to win:
- Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
- Like, comment on, or share this post on Facebook (1 entry)
- Click below to post an entry on Twitter
I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 12:00pm on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. UPDATE The winner is Meredith!