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Museum projects focused on 2017 move
The top priority for Osoyoos and District Museum and Archives is preparing for opening in a new Main Street location in 2017, but other projects are still on the go.
That’s the word from Kara Burton, museum manager, who spoke recently at a lunch meeting of the Rotary Club of Osoyoos.
“We are in the process of revitalizing our existing exhibits and displays with a direct eye to incorporating them into our new building,” Burton told the Rotarians.
One of the first exhibits being redone is the museum’s extensive military collection.
With a grant received earlier this year, the museum is putting these items into compact display drawers that will allow more items to be safely shown on the exhibit floor.
A second project is the display of a collection of 36 pastel drawings by artist Joseph Plaskett, mostly showing landscapes of the area.
When they were donated in 2010, they were shown in the art gallery in temporary frames, but the museum is putting them into permanent frames.
“Hopefully by Christmas they will be done and in spring it will be one of our feature displays in the museum gallery,” said Burton, adding this exhibit will likely travel to other museums.
“It puts Osoyoos out there and it puts our museum out there,” said Burton. “It’s a great and incredible collection.”
Another project that Burton is excited about is a reproduction of “an old mom-and-pop-style, side-of-the-highway fruit stand.”
The museum is working with the Osoyoos Secondary School woodworking program to build this replica stand, which was well underway last week.
“When agriculture first came and became an industry in the area, these mom-and-pop little fruit stands cropped up all over, so it’s quite telling to our history,” Burton said.
Teacher Ivor Langley said his father-in-law Doug Alexander is on the museum board and he helped put the museum and school together on the project.
The goal, said Langley, is to make it look like the stands of 50 years ago.
“It’s a good project for the kids,” he said. “It’s nice to get the kids in a community project.”
Burton said the design for the stand is based in part of one owned by the Burrell family that was found in an old photograph.
The biggest project at the museum, however, is the future move, Burton said.
The museum will be taking over the Home Building Centre location in October of 2016, but it will take months to renovate and bring the location up to the necessary codes.
The project has been broken into phases and the first phase will include the main floor display area and an archives room on the lower floor.
The museum hopes to install a mezzanine for office space and solar panels in phase 1, Burton said.
Plans for a multipurpose space on the lower level and outdoor improvements will need to wait until the second phase due to funding limitations, Burton said.
“As stated through a referendum campaign (of June 2011), the museum will not be asking for anymore funding from the taxpayers of Osoyoos and district,” she said. “We are committed to stand by that.”
The cost of the first phase is about $1.5 million, she said, noting the money will come from major granting agencies, the provincial and federal governments and corporations. The museum is also doing community fundraising.
The museum will likely need to close down during the transition between the two buildings over the winter of 2016-17, she said.
Currently the museum is housed in an old Quonset building that was the original home of the Osoyoos International Curling Club. The lack of temperature control puts some of the artifacts at risk.
Burton said she is currently working with the architect on design developments and the final budget for phase 1 of the new location.
A lot of work needs to take place between now and the 2017 opening in the new location, Burton said.
“While this may seem like a long time, and it is, we’ve got plenty of work to do in a considerably short period,” she added.