LETTER: Museum’s revitalization project is important

From the museum’s perspective, engaging the public in respectful dialogue is, happily, one of our highest priorities.

Dear Editor:

Thank you to Rick Selinger for your input!

Raising public awareness regarding recent changes at the Summerland Museum is very important.

From the museum’s perspective, engaging the public in respectful dialogue is, happily, one of our highest priorities.

As a democratic institution that serves the public, we welcome and value all perspectives.

In the interests of providing a leavening perspective, it may assist those who are unaware of current changes to know that the Summerland Museum is pursuing a revitalization project for the sole purpose of improving the standards of the museum and to build its capacity.

This project is necessary for a variety of reasons.

For one (and most significantly), based on community feedback, the museum was made aware of several crucial areas where it was failing to be compliant with its own policies (and I am happy to give examples of this to anyone who is interested over the phone or in person).

While it is true that roughly 50 per cent of our funding comes from the municipality, it should be emphasized that the museum also depends on museum memberships and government grants to operate year round.

As a result, we welcome public feedback to the extent that we are devoted to building stronger champions for our cause.

Without community support, it would be very difficult to carry out our mandate. Second, this project aims to make local history relevant to the community as a whole.

Consequently, one of our priorities includes reaching out to the younger generation as well as underserved minorities.

Making history relevant requires multi-generational and multi-cultural input and engagement. As it stands, for instance, Summerland’s youth has little to no interest in their museum.

Without their engagement, it is likely that the museum will become more vulnerable over time (e.g., irrelevant). In other words, we have to be mindful of not only today’s needs, but also tomorrow’s.

Third, this project seeks to increase public access to our archives (which hold some of the most valuable, original documents in the province), and to make this access extremely efficient and effective.

Part of this project includes making streams of our archives available online through a joint partnership with UBC.

Fourth, this project also includes breathing new life into all of our spaces, including our online platforms, so that we are well-positioned to showcase and preserve more of our local history in the coming years.

Finally, it should be emphasized that the Summerland Museum Board has done an outstanding job of carrying out their responsibilities, which include fiduciary, strategic and generative considerations.

Amy McCroy,