The story of Summerland and its people, from its earliest roots to the present, is told at the Summerland Museum.
Unfortunately, a lack of space limits the amount of artifacts and information that can be displayed.
The Wharton Street development project included a new, bigger museum with room to exhibit more of our history and provide easier access to archives and though the project has come to a halt, the need for more space continues.
Thanks to many generous donors, the museum has received and catalogued more than 8,000 artifacts since 1963 and more are still coming in.
These treasures are meant to be displayed and shared with the community and not hidden away in rented off-site locations.
To reduce rental costs, part of the basement at the RCMP detachment has been allocated for museum storage but this was to be a temporary solution until the new museum was completed and is not an ideal situation.
The Summerland Museum group was organized in 1965 and by 1971 the first museum was opened in a small addition to the old arena (near the present site of the museum.)
Five years later the museum moved to the Kettle Valley Railway Station on South Victoria Road but soon outgrew the building.
Thanks to a $200,000 grant from the federal government in 1983 the existing museum was constructed and with the help of many volunteers it was built for $188,285, well within budget.
The municipal council at that time agreed to provide the site for the building as Summerland’s share with no burden to the taxpayer. An annual grant assists with operating costs of the museum.
Now the 30-year-old building is in need of major repairs and renovations in order to meet the present requirements.
The current central location is ideal for visitors and residents and has room for outdoor exhibits as well as the potential for expansion while maintaining an area of green space.
Renovations to the museum would involve adding on to the existing building to provide more room for exhibits, an archival work area, and storage space, as well as an elevator and upgrades to the roof, heating system and wheelchair accessible entrance.
Additionally, the miniature railroad could remain in operation and would not have to be dismantled.
Museum staff and directors want to find a solution that best benefits Summerland and the museum, so they are seeking the opinion of the community.
A short survey can be found online at http://www.summerlandmuseum.org.