Finding Aids

Malaspina Murals Project collection
Malaspina Murals Project collection [textual record, graphic material, sound recording]. -- [ca. 1947-1998].
.5 cm of textual records
76 photographs
2 audio cassettes

The Malaspina Murals Project was undertaken by the Nanaimo Archives between 1995 and 1998. In 1996, the Nanaimo Community Archives was commissioned to document the Malaspina Hotel before its redevelopment. Staff found five murals hidden underneath layers of paint and panelling, and organized a campaign to raise funds to remove, conserve, and display the Malaspina Murals. Enough money was raised to remove and store the murals, but not to conserve them. Unable to afford storage costs any longer, the Archives transferred the murals to the City of Nanaimo in 2006. In 2007 the City committed to fully restoring and installing the Hughes mural in the downtown conference centre, which was completed and unveiled in 2009. The murals themselves were commissioned in 1938 by the directors of the Malaspina Hotel, who chose young West Coast artists Paul Goranson, Orville Fisher, and E.J. Hughes to complete the project. The murals stood as a backdrop for gatherings in the hotel until the 1960s, when renovations damaged and, in the case of Goranson's mural, demolished the murals to make room for modernization efforts. By the time the hotel stopped operating in 1984 the murals were mostly forgotten, and remained that way until the mid 1990s when renovations were undertaken to revitalize the hotel.

The project was undertaken by the Nanaimo Archives, with records generated by the Archives. Some photographs were donated from outside sources.

Consists of a prospectus for the "Nanaimo Community Hotel", photographs of events held at the Malaspina Hotel with the murals in the background, slides from July 1996 documenting the condition of the Malaspina Hotel, photographs from 1998 of the recovered murals held in storage, and tape recordings and transcript of an interview with artist Paul Goranson. Collection consists of 4 series: 1) Prospectus, 2) Photographs and 3) Goranson Interview.

Title based on the contents of the collection.

Series 1.

Prospectus [textual record]. -- [1926].
.01 cm of textual records

Series consists of a prospectus calling for investment into a luxury hotel in Nanaimo.

Tile based on the contents of the fonds.

Series 2.

Photographs [graphic material]. -- [ca. 1947-1998].
73 photographs : b&w, col.

Series consists of 73 photographs of the murals in different stages. The earlier photos depict the murals as they stood within the Malaspina Hotel, the later ones document the murals in storage. Also includes slides taken of the interior of the Malaspina Hotel in 1996 to document its condition at the time.

Title based on the contents of the series.

Series 3.

Goranson Interview [sound recording, technical drawing]. -- 1995-1996.
.7 cm of textual records
2 audio cassettes

Series consists of the transcript and audio recording of an interview with Paul Goranson conducted by Diane Foster for the Nanaimo Archives.

Title based on the contents of the fonds.
Photo 1
Photo 2