Government of Yukon

November 10, 2014

Hougen photographs and films highlight work and play in Yukon’s past

WHITEHORSE—Well-known Yukoner Rolf Hougen and Premier Darrell Pasloski recently opened an exhibition at the Hougen Heritage Gallery in Arts Underground.

The exhibition, A Yukon Snapshot: Photos and home movies 1946 to 1978 by Rolf Hougen, features selections from the thousands of images that Rolf and Margaret Hougen have donated to Yukon Archives.

“Rolf Hougen has created an incredible pictorial history of how Yukoners lived, worked and played in the mid-1900s,” Pasloski said. “This exhibition showcases Mr. Hougen’s talent as a photographer and demonstrates his commitment to documenting and preserving the history of our territory’s people, places and events.”

Additionally, the exhibition presents a selection of colour film clips compiled from 16-millimetre home movies that Hougen took while on business or vacation in Yukon, other parts of Canada and around the world.

“I am pleased that the Friends of Yukon Archives Society has chosen to exhibit selections from the Hougen collection,” Hougen said. “It has been a pleasure working with Yukon Archives. They deserve praise for the great work they do in preserving Yukon’s history.”

A Yukon Snapshot is the second exhibition of Rolf Hougen’s photographs hosted by the Friends of the Yukon Archives Society in the Hougen Heritage Gallery. The first exhibition, Life in Whitehorse, 1946-1969, is now on permanent display on the second floor of the Hougen Centre in downtown Whitehorse.

“Over the past 25 years Rolf Hougen has donated close to 5,000 photographs to the Yukon Archives,” Friends of the Yukon Archives Society president Diane Chisholm said. “They provide a fascinating documentation of activities in years gone by as well as an opportunity to see the many changes that have occurred since the images were taken.”

Examples of still and moving-image cameras Hougen used over the years will also be on display. A Yukon Snapshot is on exhibit until February 21, 2015.

Yukon Archives


See backgrounder.


Elaine Schiman
Cabinet Communications

Stefanie Richardson
Communications, Tourism and Culture



Rolf B. Hougen (b. 1928) is a long-time Whitehorse resident and prominent business owner. His parents emigrated from Norway to Canada and eventually settled in Whitehorse in 1944, where they opened a 600-square-foot store on Wood Street.

Hougen worked in the store before and after school, and took over its management in 1947 at the age of 19. Since then the store has grown into a 75,000-square-foot retail outlet, now situated on Main Street and known as the Hougen Centre, selling a variety of products.

The Hougen Group expanded further and has included a radio station, a cable TV company, a car dealership, real estate, sporting good outlets and more. Hougen is president of Hougen's Ltd. department stores and past chair of the Yukon Research and Development Institute and of the University of Canada North.

Hougen is an avid photographer. He began taking photographs at the age of 10 and has taken thousands of images documenting community events, sports, parades, weddings and daily life. In later years Hougen and his wife Margaret had a darkroom in their home. He took photographs for commercial clients and sold others in the family store.

In 2005 Hougen donated space in the Hougen Centre for use by the arts and heritage communities. Programming for Arts Underground and the Hougen Heritage Gallery is provided by the Yukon Arts Centre, the MacBride Museum of Yukon History and the Friends of the Yukon Archives Society.

News Release #14-252