Grant funding has provided needed relief at RJ Haney Heritage Village and Museum, which remains closed due to COVID-19.
The most recent easing of financial concern for the Salmon Arm Museum & Heritage Association, which oversees operations at the village, arrived in the form of its annual Community Gaming Grant from the province. The application for the grant was submitted in the first week of March. With the pandemic came uncertainty about the funding, so its receipt was cause for sighs of relief.
Other funding received through the B.C. Arts Council, the federal government’s Small Business Wage Subsidy and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy programs, the Canada Emergency Business Account, Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage, and Sport Organizations, as well as B.C. Hydro, have helped lessen the impact of having to close for the summer while allowing work to continue on the village site.
Having to close the gates for summer 2020 meant a substantial loss in revenue for the park. Last year’s programming generated $157,242, rentals another $22,202, and food sales $48,464.
Without the gaming grant, the association was preparing to run the park with only essential staff looking to look after maintenance. With the gaming grant and other financial support, the association is able to keep regular returning seasonal and senior staff working. A skeletal crew continues to maintain the site and its artifacts. Work on exhibits continues. And the association is able to pay its utilities.
“This pandemic was a shock to us all…,” stated Salmon Arm Museum curator Deborah Chapman in a blog on the Haney website. “We took the advice of provincial health authorities and cancelled all programs. We are all working as hard as ever, behind the scenes, readying for the day when visitors can be welcomed safely.”
When the park reopens, there will be plenty of new offerings for the public to see and experience. Among them, the completed Sprig of Heather Tea Room, the completed Observer print shop, Demers and Tillman Pool Hall and Barber Shop, the Lingford and Honey Photography Studio, the Chinese laundry on “Main Street,” and a new exhibit celebrating the life and work of Secwepmec Elder Mary Thomas.
“The museum staff members are continuing to maintain and develop exhibits and the Village and can hardly wait to show you what we’ve been working on! It may be a while…,” wrote Chapman.
The Salmon Arm Museum and Heritage Association is a registered non-profit society relying on donations, grants and revenue-generating events to continue operations and complete capital projects. Donations are welcome, and can be made through at salmonarmmuseum.org.