Last week there were two chances for residents of Rossland to put in their thoughts of what the future of the museum should look like. Members of the Rossland Museum Gateway Project unveiled some of what they have been working on for the future of the museum.
Museum expert and consultant Wayne Wilson spoke about the benefits and challenges that the Rossland Historical Museum takes on, and trends in the field of museums.
“It’s a large operation, it’s two distinct elements,” Wilson said. “You have a great collection. You have material in storage and lots of material out on display for the visitor to see. I think a gathering like this and the committee that we got together indicates that there is a good working relationship with the community. That’s not important, that’s critical.”
Wilson explained that one trend is the movement towards consolidation of museums and other similar institutions in communities.
“You have already consolidated that stuff that’s taking place… you’ve got that contained in this operation,” he noted. “I think that barrier is already overcome.”
The site itself has a lot of place to move and on the geological side of things, it is covered with the many outdoor things to see.
“There is an expectation out there that you will have the story of Rossland and you got it,” he said. “There are a lot of different approaches, whether it is the specialized component for skiing or the collection of other elements within the gallery space.
One of the big things is to become sustainable and would benefit from a full-time staff.
He said the museum already has a great location and lots of traffic.
Mayor Greg Granstrom gave a bit of background to the events that have led to the Gateway Project, including the the closure of the underground mine tour. Granstrom said the closure of the adit opened up some exciting possibilities.
“This decision, while extremely disappointing for everyone involved, has lead for the opportunity to significantly enhance the tourist experience, as well ensure the historical significance of Rossland’s mining heritage is maintained and enhanced,” Granstrom said. “With the significant assistance of Teck and the outstanding community support and involvement we’re moving forward to develop a vision and a plan.”
Facilitator and committee member Mike Stolte, said that one thing that’s been very exciting is that Teck, the City and the Museum society came together to become the advisory committee.
“What we’re trying to do through this process is identify some themes, some stories and some future directions for the museums,” Stolte said. “Teck has committed to funding this process plus a feasibility study to get to the RFP stage, where we can take it out to museum consultants and turn it into something substantial.”
That includes a capitol plan, operational plan and feasibility study, which they hope to get done no later than 2013.
Stolte said that one thing present in all of the most successful museums in the province is that they have engaged their community, and so that’s what they hope happens in Rossland.
“The community feels a great sense of ownership in the successful museums,”
Following the info session was a brainstorming session in which those in attendance were asked to give their own ideas on what the museum should be.
There is also a survey online at www.rossland.ca/rossland-museum-gateway-project-survey.