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Town council hears Osoyoos Museum won’t be moving into new home until fall of 2016
The Osoyoos Museum Society has announced it won’t be moving into its new home for three more years and that longtime board chair Mat Hassen is going to take over running the day-to-day operations while the board looks for a permanent replacement for outgoing curator and managing director Ken Favrholdt.
During a presentation to Town of Osoyoos council Monday, Hassen announced he has been asked to become the interim managing director after Favrholdt leaves after three years on the job, starting Dec. 10.
“I’m guess I’m coming out of retirement,” said a smiling Hassen during his presentation to council.
Favrholdt announced several weeks ago that, after three years on the job, he was leaving his position with the Osoyoos Museum due to health and personal reasons.
Hassen, who is involved in numerous volunteer positions in town, made it very clear he has no interest in becoming the permanent managing director, but is more than willing to take on the job until a suitable replacement is found for Favrholdt.
“We want to instill confidence in the community that we’re still in business and on target,” said Hassen in announcing he has accepted to step in once Favrholdt leaves.
The board recently confirmed that management with the Home Building Centre on Main Street – which will be converted into the new home for the Osoyoos Museum – has signed a new lease until September of 2016, meaning the museum won’t be making its permanent move to its new location until October of 2016, said Hassen.
A referendum was held in town during the summer of 2011, where the majority of residents voted in favour of funding a new home for the Osoyoos Museum.
The current location of the Home Building Centre was chosen several months later.
The museum society’s board recently completed a five-year business plan that was prepared with the idea the museum would have moved into its new home long before the fall of 2016 and that business plan will have to be revised now that the move wont’ take place until the fall of 2016, said Hassen.
“We won’t be moving into the building as quickly was we would have liked … this has thrown off our business plan, which we will do again in the next little while,” he said.
It will take four to six months of extensive renovations to convert their new home from a home building centre into a modern, state-of-the-art museum, which means the building likely won’t be open to the public until the spring of 2017.
Favrholdt and Hassen said 2013 has been very good at the Osoyoos Museum with attendance up from previous years.
Favrholdt said a 50th anniversary celebration this past summer was a big success as was an exhibit commemorating the War of 1812, which kicked off in Osoyoos and is travelling across the province.
That exhibit will soon return to Osoyoos and become a permanent exhibit, he said.
Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War One and 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Second World War and the museum has applied for grants to host exhibits relating to these two historic events, he said.
The museum has been fortunate enough to acquire the services of an experienced grant writer who will be applying for various provincial and federal grants as the museum continues to operate under very strict financial restrictions, said Hassen.
“There is very little money available to cover our core costs of operations,” he said. “Our core costs and core funding remain a serious issue … as the core funding comes about $15,000 short of our core costs each year.”
The museum board, staff and group of 20 volunteers appreciate the annual donation by town council, said Hassen.
It’s going to be difficult to replace Favrholdt when he leaves in less than one month, said Hassen.
The ideal candidate will have experience as a curator, in running the day-to-day operations of a busy museum, have some experience as a project manager and be able to organize fundraising ventures, he said.
Mayor Stu Wells said the museum is an integral part of this town and council will continue to try and support it.
“Our museum is a real little treasure in this town,” he said. “That’s why there is a line item in the budget for annual support and we will continue to support it … but I wouldn’t expect any new funding.”
Coun. Sue McKortoff thanked Favrholdt for three years of hard work and doing a great job in operating and promoting the museum and wished him well in his future ventures.
Wells echoed the same comments, saying Favrholdt was committed and dedicated to promoting the Osoyoos Museum in this community and he will be missed.