|Former museum President Mary Wohlleben (centre-left) receives first cheque from former Regional Director Gisele Rudischer on behalf of the museum’s board.|
Tax-based funding derived from Gabriola taxpayers through the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) has allowed the Gabriola Historical and Museum Society (GHMS) to focus on providing “community outreach and display enhancement”.
In a Tuesday report to the RDN board at the RDN offices in Nanaimo, GHMS board President Connie Clifford said the GHMS board now knows it has sufficient funds to “maintain our museum building and grounds, pay our staff and keep our doors open”. She said this has allowed them to focus their fundraising efforts towards service delivery.
In terms of their outreach services, Clifford said they have done introductory tours for grades one and two students from Gabriola Elementary School, focussing on Gabriola’s history “and what a museum is all about”. She said they did a “two-day curriculum-based visit to grade tree students”. She said they were unable to do planned visits with the older grades because of the teachers’ strike.
Petroglyph tours, Clifford said, were also provided to “visiting scholars, a scientist from the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, a consultant on museums science centres and planetariums from Vancouver, a PHD anthropology student from McMaster University, and a visiting rock-art scholar from San Diego”. She said other “impromptu museum tours” were also provided, as were museum information and displays at Gabriola events.
Events and exhibits
Other museum events, said Clifford, included the presentation of vintage movies from the 1930s, a panel discussion about Gabriola’s peace movement, a presentation about early settlers on the Gulf Islands, and “the opening of our new exhibit Brick by Brick; the story of the Gabriola brickyard”.
“From the end of the 19th century until 1952”, Clifford expanded, “the brickyard was Gabriola’s single-most important industry and largest employer. Bricks were shipped off-island for construction of buildings in Nanaimo, Victoria, Vancouver, and New Westminster BC. For more than five decades the brickyard shaped the lives of Gabriolans, as well as hundreds of Island families, Chinese contract labourers, and immigrant workers”.
Clifford said the exhibit has “created a real buzz on Gabriola”, and the display will continue until 2013.
As for the society’s fundraising activities, Clifford said, they included: an annual Easter basket raffle; weekly meat draws; Saturday mornings at the Farmers’ Market; membership fees; and donations at their presentations and events.
The board has developed a new website, Clifford said, and updated their bylaws, procedures, terms of reference, and board manual. She said the board will develop new displays, and work on maintenance, and renovations while the museum is closed during the winter months.
GHMS Treasurer Ann Banford said the board received $12,000 from the RDN in 2011, and raised $16,000 on its own – $3,000 more than the amount for which they had budgeted. She said most of the $16,000 came from community donations – specifically from the meat draws.
Of the money from the RDN, Banford said there was a $2,300 surplus in 2011, as the board was “being very careful about controlling our costs”, before it received the money from the RDN. She said GHMS is “on target” for spending the entire amount in 2012”. She said in 2011 they had “just over $28,000 in revenue, and just under $22,000 in expenses, for a net income of about $6,500 … compared to a negative of about $6,500 in 2010”.
Thanks to the RDN’s contribution Banford said, not only was GHMS able to focus on service delivery, it was also able to raise staff wages – which she said come out of the money the society fundraises – when the minimum wage was increased.
Next year, Banford said, the society will have “community curators coming in and helping with exhibits”. She said they plan to “redevelop the current hippy display … which is popular, but needs a lot of work”.
Regional Director Julian Fell noted that raising $16,000 from a population of 4,000 was “very impressive”. Regional Director Howard Houle thanked the society “for all the work they do in collecting and preserving the history of Gabriola”. He also congratulated them on the Brick by Brick display, noting that it was one of the projects he worked on when he was with the society, “so it’s very nice to see it’s finally on display”.
|The Flying Shingle, Gabriola Island, BC, Canada ~ editor@FlyingShingle.com||Web design: Innovative Illusions (Paul Rudyk) ~ webmaster@FlyingShingle.com|