Chase Museum recovering from fire

After the two fires in July 2011 caused by arson, the Chase and District Museum is slowly rising from the ashes once again.

The spirit of community is strong in the Village of Chase, residents are active as volunteers in non-profit organizations in addition to busy careers in other businesses.

Word gets around quickly, groups pool efforts to make great things happen.

After the two fires in July 2011 caused by arson, the Chase and District Museum is slowly rising from the ashes once again.

Insurance benefits fell short of reconstruction costs, so other fundraising is in the works. Reasonable decisions are being made to make the best use of financial resources in the rebuilding.

Joan Anderson, a dedicated museum volunteer, said, “We are able to update things like siding, using new technology, saving on maintenance costs in the future. Insurance premiums are lower as well using the new siding.”

The Chase Museum is not a designated heritage site, and using current materials which meet certain code standards comes with advantages. Always making application efforts for those increasingly elusive government grants takes time and skill.

Using work space in the Chase Chamber of Commerce Info Centre, the task of cleaning and organizing archival material is time intensive and requires the right person for the job.

It’s perfect for the volunteer who loves to read and learn about local history. This person might make a natural interpretive centre ambassador in the future.

Lynette Narcisse was working on document cleanup, some within the past decade, but recently with material about Billy Miner, Canada’s First Train Robber. Narcisse says with a smile, “It’s interesting reading the history, learned more about Billy Miner than I thought possible.”

There is help coming from outside the immediate community, with Cuyler Page offering to help redesign some aspects of the restored Chase Museum. Page is the curator of Kamloops Museum.

Barbara Winter, a professor with Simon Fraser University’s Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, along with about 20 of her students, will spend a weekend around Feb. 17, 18 and 19 helping out however they can.

Winter is no stranger to Chase or the museum; she stopped in Chase on her way back from a fall visit to the Adam’s River salmon run and talked to Roger Behn, chair of the village’s museum society. Always on the lookout for projects for her students, she volunteered their services.