It has been my privilege to serve on the Museum Advisory Committee for the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre. The museum facility and operation is one for which we can all take considerable pride. The museum has transitioned from set admission fees to having no formal entrance charge, but one which is based on voluntary donation. This has made this community storehouse of our past and important educational resource more accessible for local residents. The success of our concession/gift shop has grown through increased tourist traffic which has helped our revenue stream.
Working cooperatively with staff, I have been successful to help ensure necessary building envelope maintenance has been carried out. Currently, there are two major priorities for this operation for which I have been vigorously advocating. The first and most urgent is the replacement of the outdated heating, ventilating and cooling system. It is particularly important in this facility since it is where the city’s cherished historical artifacts are housed and they require proper humidity and temperature conditions to be preserved. The fate of our keepsakes should not be left vulnerable to the vagaries of a system which is inefficient, unreliable and long past its useful lifespan. I am thankful Council saw fit in 2018 to budget monies for the system replacement and staff is working on deciding the best source of power for future needs. The present climate control system uses hydro-electricity, a good deal of which is provided from green power generated along the canal through the St. Lawrence Seaway. My preference is to see that alternative choice remains in place.
My second priority is to finally move the photo and visuals digitization project into the public realm. Volunteers have been scanning items for years, yet the thousands upon thousands of hours of work they have done is literally languishing in darkness. It is long past time for this information to be made publicly accessible on the internet. Our own library, on whose board I serve, was able to get a representative collection live in a short period of time.