Museum wants a new home

THE TERRACE and District Museum Society is renewing efforts to find suitable space for artifacts, photos and documents.

  • May. 1, 2012 12:00 p.m.

THE KALUM Hotel at the Heritage Park Museum lacks the kind of temperature and humidity control that’s needed to serve as a repository for many kinds of artifacts.

THE TERRACE and District Museum Society is renewing efforts to find suitable space for artifacts, photos and documents.

The material is now kept at the Heritage Park Museum complex, which is operated by the society, but buildings there aren’t considered suitable, museum curator Kelsey Wiebe said in a presentation to city council April 23.

“Sensitive artifacts are … kept throughout the 100-year-old buildings,” said Wiebe during the presentation.

She noted temperatures inside the buildings can drop below -20 C and rise above 20 C.

“Climate fluctuations accelerate the deterioration of historic documents,” said Wiebe.

The buildings at Heritage Park Museum are of log construction and were gathered from various locations in the area and moved to the park site on the bench so they could be preserved and displayed.

The museum society ideally wants a permanent building elsewhere that’s not only large enough but has the kind of temperature and humidity climate controls needed to preserve artifacts, photographs and written material.

But for the time being, the society is asking the city for assistance in finding a temporary location.

Both the temporary museum and permanent one would need to provide adequate office space, changeable display space, adequate storage space, and proper climate controls, said Wiebe.

The society estimates 3,000 square feet is necessary.

For the temporary space, a building would need to be either provided or  purchased and upgrades are estimated to cost $250 per square foot.

Society president Grant Piffer, who also spoke to council April 23, said time is of the essence in finding a temporary location while planning for a permanent one.

That’s because items which could become museum material are now in the homes of people who are getting on in years and without a facility, which could accept those items, they could become lost, he said.

“There is a generation of people who are in their 70s or 80s … those are the children of Terrace’s pioneers,” said Piffer.

The society has a list of issues to resolve as it works toward its goal.

“We actually haven’t ironed out yet whether  the society would own the land or the buildings,” said Piffer. “We’re working with city staff to try and get things nailed down.”

A permanent structure, containing temperature and humidity controls would cost as much as $500 to $1,100 square foot.

The society has not yet officially asked the city for financial assistance pending completion of a more detailed plan for a permanent building.

For its part, the city is determining if there is an existing location, which could serve as a temporary facility.

“The city’s role is more to provide technical support, perhaps in a potential location that the society has identified, reviewing city files on potential buildings to look for relevant information that might help determine suitability, and so on,” said city official Heather Avison.

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