With many artifacts and limited space to display them all, the curator and board of directors at the Summerland Museum are looking at their acquisitions policy.
“We would need warehouses and lots of money if we were to display all of Summerland’s history,” said Sandy Nicolson, chair of the museum board.
Some of the items are on display at the museum, but other artifacts are in storage, because there is not enough room to display them all.
In addition to storage within the museum building, some items are kept in the basement of the Summerland RCMP detachment and others are kept in a storage container offsite.
Space has been an ongoing problem at the museum and concerns have been raised about donations which have little or no connections with Summerland’s history.
Other items are badly damaged and the cost of repair or restoration, in some instances, would run into the thousands of dollars. Amy McCroy, curator of the museum, said when items are donated to the museum, the museum has an obligation to its donors. “If we take an item, we have to have the funds to take care of it,” she said. Museums will sometimes ask donors to leave a small contingency fund with their donation, to ensure its care is sustained over time. In addition, photographs in the museum’s collection will remain at the museum.
While revisiting the acquisitions policy represents a significant change for the museum. McCroy and Nicolson said the museum’s purpose remains that of chronicling Summerland’s history, even though the specific details are changing.
“It’s a shift in paradigms,” McCroy said of policy changes at the museum. “What kind of a museum are we?” Nicolson added that the museum has received and continues to receive strong support from the community.