The Agassiz-Harrison Museum will have a bit more money for its operating costs and projects, after the Village of Harrison approved a yearly $10,000 contribution to the museum Monday (Jan. 21).
The Kent-Harrison Historical Society, which runs the museum, approached the village in December about the possibility of receiving additional funding from Harrison. Currently, the museum receives $15,000 from Tourism Harrison and $25,000 from the District of Kent.
However, museum curator and manager Lindsay Foreman said, this is the only money that can be used for the museum’s operating costs.
“A lot of the funding that we do receive are from provincial or federal grants. A lot of these are project based,” she explained to council Monday. “It’s difficult for us to have basic operating costs and supplement our staff salaries when most of these grants can only carve out a small portion for project management fees or maintenance and things like that.
“It’s never quite enough to keep us ahead of the game,” she continued.
Foreman is the only regular staff member at the museum — everyone else is either a volunteer or part of the Canada Summer Jobs program. She’s the one spearheading a number of new initiatives at the museum.
One of these initiatives is the opening of the museum at certain points during the winter. In the past, the museum has only been open to the public from May until October.
“Generally our museum is closed from the Thanksgiving weekend until our opening in May,” she said. “I’m trying to open up periodically during our closed season so we can invite the community, and have community things when people have time off.”
Coming up, the museum will open for a number of events during national heritage week in February, as well as the Agassiz Fall Fair in September. The museum was already open as a trial during the CP Holiday Train event in December, and saw many people come through its doors.
“The train was an hour and a half late that day, and it started to rain and lots of little ones just wanted to see the train. So it was a great event. A lot of people were happy we were open,” Foreman said.
The main gallery in the museum is also being revitalized, with Foreman hoping to create an open space in the centre of the gallery so local organizations could potentially use it as a meeting space.
Partnerships are also on the radar for the museum: educational programming with the Fraser-Cascade School District is one goal for Foreman, but also developing a stronger relationship with Harrison Hot Springs.
Council voted in favour of providing the museum with $10,000 each year, something that can be achieved at little cost to the village, as they had reduced their support to Tourism Harrison from $31,000 to $21,000.
“This really is a reallocation of cultural funds to a very worthy cause,” CAO Madeline McDonald said.