LETTER: Not too late to preserve museum’s future

I was dismayed to learn about the very sudden closure of Parksville Museum.

The museum’s collections are held in a public trust so it would seem appropriate to have put the facts to the full board of the Parksville & District Historical Society at a meeting appointed with due notice for this purpose. Then, with the AGM imminent, I question why the closure was not deferred for discussion with the membership and if appropriate a special general meeting. The lack of transparency and disinterest in consultation with community stakeholders is alarming.

Through my close association with the museum over a number of years I have developed a great respect for the professionalism, experience, commitment and loyalty of the executive director and her team of full, part-time staff and enthusiastic volunteers. In the four years since her appointment I have seen huge gains in the care and preservation of the collection including the essential stabilization of the heritage buildings. Operational procedures are now in place and advances made with community outreach programs. Of note is a current collaborative project with VIU involving many months of work undertaken by trainee teachers to develop an inclusive program that would have enabled the museum to offer a host of curriculum-based school programs.

It seems that the professional staff members at the museum have established the ground work necessary to build a future for our museum. The closure negates four years of resources and leaves many important projects unfinished. These include a new blacksmith shop with classes that were in the works, the current grant applications currently in the pipeline, the return of funding already received for specific projects that won’t be completed and the cancellation of many planned activities.

The museum now has a growing reputation as a trusted place to protect the area’s history. It is incumbent upon all of us to ensure the continued protection of Parksville Qualicum Beach history. Together with the City of Parksville, let us support our museum to preserve its future and the historical heritage of Parksville and its neighbouring communities. So please come to Saturday’s AGM and make your voice heard. Membership still available at http://parksvillemuseum.ca/membership/.

Jill Davies

Parksville

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