Instead of progressive action and looking to the future, all that comes from elected officials are band-aids

There was a lot of talk about the importance of heritage and museums last week.

It all began with MP Colin Mayes announcing $100,000 in funding for the Greater Vernon Museum as part of the Canada 150 initiative.

“By telling the community’s story, we make our community stronger,” said Mayes of the museum.

An additional $100,000 will come from the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee to replace the museum roof, and chairperson Juliette Cunningham also sang the praises of the agency.

“The museum plays a vital role in our community.  I am so grateful that we are able to help safeguard our history due to the contribution from the Canada 150 program,” she said.

But while there is nothing wrong with any of those comments, when was the last time Cunningham and Mayes actually toured inside the museum?

If they have, they would realize that $200,000 is just peanuts and a leaky roof is just the start of the problems for the museum, which is dedicated to maintaining and preserving the community’s heritage.

Exhibits are shoe-horned into what little room there is and visitors can easily feel crowded and claustrophobic. This is particularly noticeable when special events are held, such as the Bug Guys show, which draw about 70 children.

“They barely fit into the back room,” said Ron Candy, the museum’s long time curator.

Opportunities to bring touring exhibits to Vernon are lost because there isn’t an extra inch of additional space (the building is 12,000-square-feet in size, with 6,500 for exhibits).

Candy admits that snug quarters are making it difficult for the museum to perform a primary mandate, which is public education and awareness.

“The community is getting larger and demand is growing. If we had more space, we could get more people.”

But the real challenge is behind closed doors where the public never goes.

Wandering up to the second floor, the staircase becomes a virtual goat path as stacks of boxes line the route. They are being saved for the next book sale, which is critical to prop up limited operational funds.

Once at the top, the amount of clutter is overwhelming. Mannequins are stacked up like cord wood, while boxes form skyscrapers. One false move, and they could tumble over, and while that may not seem important, keep in mind that they contain one-of-a-kind artifacts and treasure from the region’s past. Once something from Cornelius O’Keefe or Sveva Caetani is gone, it’s gone. They aren’t making any more.

Items are being stored in a less than ideal setting and the lack of controlled atmospheric conditions also doesn’t help. Many of them never see the light of day because there isn’t proper space on the ground floor to exhibit them.

When asked about the current state of affairs, Candy was cautious and didn’t want to take away from the celebrations surrounding the $200,000 for the roof.

“A new facility would be ideal but in the meantime, we deal with what we have,” he said.

And Candy could be dealing with what he has for awhile as politicians don’t consider the museum a priority. There was some talk of expanding the facility, but that process stalled while GVAC developed a cultural plan.

Instead of progressive action and looking to the future, all that comes from elected officials are band-aids.





























Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Family Literacy Week is being celebrated in downtown Vernon with the first ever Story-Window Walk Jan. 21-31. (Literacy Society of North Okanagan)
Catch a Yeti in downtown Vernon

Literacy Week celebrated with first ever Story-Window Walk

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

A COVID-19 outbreak at Vernon's Heritage Square long-term care home has claimed seven people. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Two more COVID-19 deaths at Vernon care home

Heritage Square has now lost seven people due to the outbreak

A Salvation Army bell is rung by Michael Cronin as he staffs the charity’s red donation kettle in front of a grocery store, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, in Lynden, Wash. The familiar ringing of handbells has gone silent at many Canadian shopping malls this year as the Salvation Army tries to cope with COVID-19 rules at a time of dropping donations. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Elaine Thompson
Record-breaking Christmas for Vernon Salvation Army

$640K and significant food donations pour into local organization ahead of holidays

A 2002 F350 was stolen from a Whitevale home sometime overnight Jan. 14. (Contributed)
Truck stolen near Lumby overnight

Lifted Ford stolen from Whitevale Road

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021 in Washington. The President is traveling to Texas. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Black Press Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

In case you missed it, here’s what made waves throughout the week

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
13 more cases of COVID-19 tied to Big White Mountain cluster

This brings the total case count to 175, of which 32 cases are active

RCMP on scene at a home on Sylvania Cres. (Phil McLachlan /Capital News/FILE)
Two Kelowna men arrested after Rutland home invasion

Two Kelowna men, including a prolific offender, facing slew of potential charges

Real estate sales in the South Okanagan grew by more than any other part of the province in 2020. (Marissa Tiel - Black Press)
South Okanagan fastest growing real estate market in B.C.

There was over $1 billion in residential sales in 2020

Most Read