The Greater Vernon Museum and Archives opened its doors on Oct. 15 with a new (and old) cast and crew, and they’re eager to introduce themselves.
The museum had to weather financial constraints that led to many layoffs earlier this year, and by all appearances the layoffs were to become widespread by the middle of October.
“We were told in the Spring that there were going to be some major changes that would affect staffing,” said Lisa Ramsey, the museum’s business manager. “We were given three months notice that Oct. 12 would be everybody’s last day of work. Every single person.”
But thanks to a restructuring plan under the leadership of Steve Fleck, who was brought on as the executive director in April, the museum has bounced back and the team has been reassembled.
The museum now has a brand new curator and program coordinator, and has brought back some familiar faces to round out a team that’s dedicated to serve the public by preserving and sharing the history and culture of the North Okanagan.
“It’s really exciting,” said Ramsey, who has a wide range of experiences in sports, education and tourism management. “Lots of things are happening (and) more people are coming through the doors.”
Cuyler Page is the museum’s new curator and the team’s leader when it comes to shaping visitors’ experience. Page will be working with staff and community members to plan and create displays, exhibits and other programs and is also in charge of the museum’s artifact collection.
Page spent 17 years restoring the Grist Mill and Gardens in Keremeos, a pioneer site that dates back to 1877. He’s combined his skills as an architect, his penchant for design and his passion for history to bring some exciting new developments to life.
Laisha Rosnau is the museum’s new programming coordinator whose job is to create engaging experiences for visitors of all ages. Her work will include interactions with people in presentations, workshops and entertaining learning experiences.
A nationally recognized author and poet, Rosnau teaches creative writing at the university level and was formerly a site interpreter at Bishop Wild Bird Sanctuary. She will also create materials and resources to support the museum’s displays and publications.
Barbara Bell has more than 35 years of personal history at the museum and has returned as its head archivist.
“Her knowledge and experience of the organization is second to none,” said Community Engagement Coordinator Gwyneth Evans. “Her mentorship of new staff will ensure our archives continues to serve public needs for information and research for years to come.”
Evans worked at the museum for more than a year prior to the layoffs, and is back to being the museum’s leader when it comes to finding and communicating information. She has a wealth of general knowledge in history, and is often the first face visitors see in the reception area when stopping by for a visit.