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Mould moves Vernon museum reopening

Aging building has been closed since June 16 and will now reopen Aug. 23, two weeks behind schedule
The reopening of the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives has been pushed back due to the discovery of mould in the building. The museum will now reopen Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

The Greater Vernon Museum and Archives will remain closed longer than expected after mould was discovered during renovations.

The museum closed June 16 due to an infrastructure project and was meant to reopen Wednesday, Aug. 9. However, crews found mould along some baseboards near the freshly upgraded bathrooms, meaning the museum will need to remain closed until Aug. 23, says Gwyneth Evans, the museum’s head of archives.

The museum received a grant of just over $280,000 from the province to make necessary upgrades to infrastructure. It is not known if those funds will cover the mould remediation that is now required.

With the funding provided by the Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure program, the museum has upgraded its 30-plus-year-old bathrooms. It has also improved workspaces to make them more safe and efficient for staff.

There will also be a new museum space to curate, but currently that space does not hold any artifacts.

“We’re just waiting for all the lighting to be there to see what it looks like and then we’ll proceed with creating something for those walls,” said Lisa Ramsey, the museum’s operations manager. “We are very pleased that we have been able to put money towards those spaces.”

The museum recently replaced halogen lighting with LEDs and has also made improvements to its HVAC system.

The changes have allowed more space for volunteers to do their work, says Ramsey.

While the museum will be moving into the Greater Vernon Cultural Centre once it’s built, Ramsey says the upgrades were needed to see the museum through until the new centre is complete.

The museum applied for the infrastructure grant before finding out for sure that it would be moving to the Cultural Centre.

“When we were granted it, we thought we’re still here for three to five years minimum, so we still needed these spaces. The bathrooms definitely needed to be upgraded and the working spaces needed to be more appropriate,” she said.

Ideally, the museum closure would have taken place in the winter when the museum sees less traffic, but the museum had to revise its application to the government once it found out it would be moving to the future Cultural Centre, which took a few months to process. The timing of the closure also aligned with the schedule of the contractor, Sawchuk Developments.

Ramsey says the contractor has done an “amazing” job keeping the timeline of the project as short as possible.

Construction on the museum’s current building began in 1966 and was completed in 1967.

READ MORE: Art gallery gives life to vacant Enderby warehouse

READ MORE: More historic Vernon photographs preserved online

Brendan Shykora
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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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