New exhibits are planned for R.J. Haney Heritage Village & Museum, and more funding is needed.
Staff and board members representing the village and museum made a presentation to city council on Oct. 15, first pointing to successes of the current season.
In 2019, more than 17,000 visitors came to the village, about 1,000 more than in 2018, board president Norma Harisch told council. Dinner theatre attendance increased by 27 per cent from 2,384 to 2,914.
Revenues in many areas increased as well. Soiree revenue was up 21.7 per cent, car show revenue increased 23 per cent, food sales were up 15.6 per cent, liquor sales were up 31.8 per cent and daily admission increased by five per cent.
Volunteers did their part and more, with 200 people providing 7,378 hours, up from 6,992 in 2018.
The Montebello Museum flooded in the spring, but the concrete vault housing the archives protected the valuable paper records and photographs.
In the summer a new exhibit opened, Pass the Popcorn, a celebration of 75 years of community service from the Salmar Community Association. In September, the EA Palmer Butcher Shop was opened.
Next on the village development plan are the Children’s Discovery Centre and Museum, and the new restaurant, the Sprig of Heather.
General manager Susan Mackie said the Children’s Discovery Centre will provide a playful way of learning. It will show key elements from the Shuswap’s first people as well as colonial settlers.
Activities will connect to water, from a steamboat to a water wall and a salmon pinball machine. An area near a canoe will be a story circle and there will be a miniature version of a First Nations winter home. On a dock there will be a loading platform with a workable crane.
The old museum will be redesigned into a new, possibly 150-seat restaurant, A Sprig of Heather, which will be a beautiful commercial facility, Mackie said. It will be complete with a covered patio at the back.
Past president Doug Adams said $415,000 has been budgeted for the two phases.
He said the village and museum was fortunate to receive a BC Rural Dividend Fund grant that allowed a couple of years of planning, architect fees, etc.
He reviewed funding options and was asked about the possibility of receiving funds from the hotel tax. He said the museum is in discussions with them but it appears the funds are focused on marketing.
Adams asked council for $25,000, which it won’t decide on until upcoming budget deliberations.
He said he hopes council supports the request, because “it is your museum as well as ours.”