The museum and archives in Cumberland will be undergoing renovations. Record file photo

Cumberland plans for museum makeover

Renovation work is to be done in time for anniversary celebration

Cumberland’s past is getting a new look for the future.

The Village’s museum and archives is planning renovations to the building, according to new executive director Rossyln Shipp, who updated council at the most recent meeting.

Council members were enthusiastic to hear about the plans.

“I know we’ve all been really curious about what’s going on at the museum,” Coun. Sean Sullivan said.

Specifically, the building improvements include work on the mechanical systems, flooring and painting, as well as improved accessibility. Some hazardous material will be removed in the process.

The biggest additions will be a new HVAC system for heating and cooling the building, as well as new lighting and electrical upgrades to meet code and expected demand in the future.

RELATED STORY: Cumberland Museum and Village of Cumberland win historical award

There are plans to increase the area for collections storage, a reconfiguration of the layout and improved public access for the archive collection. Other changes include separate office spaces, relocation of the community research room and increased storage space for artifacts to meet museum standards, though Shipp said this will likely cut into a small amount of gallery space. As well, the plan calls for an accessible washroom up to code for museum visitors and tourists.

“It’s one of the few publicly accessible washrooms in the Village,” Shipp said.

The Village owns the facility, but it is operated by the Cumberland & District Historical Society. The work comes with an estimated budget of $750,000.

The project was first identified in 2016. Over that time several ideas were considered including the construction of a new building or building an additional floor. After some analysis, it was decided these were not feasible options, as there were questions about whether the current building could handle some of the upgrades. The plan was re-evaluated in March 2019. After Shipp started this spring, there were meetings to determine the direction of the project.

“It was … decided that we would just, at this point, undertake an internal or interior building upgrade,” Shipp said.

The main goals of the project are to make physical improvements to the building’s interior, enhance the environment for operational efficiency and capacity, enrich the exhibitions and access to collections.

“This is a little bit of a shift from that original plan that was maybe provided to you in February of last year,” Shipp said.

For the $750,000 project, the largest cost will be the construction, at roughly $600,000. As well, there is $30,000 set aside for exhibition improvements, $45,000 for collections storage improvements and $75,000 for operational project costs.

The largest source for funding is the Y.P. Heung Foundation, which will cover most of the balance. The Cumberland Museum & Archives will cover $45,000, the Village will cover $41,300 over five years and there is a grant opportunity for as much as $200,000 from Canadian Heritage through its Canadian Cultural Spaces Fund. If the grant is not successful, the foundation will support the full project.

The timeline is for architectural drawings this month, with the building permit application and moving preparation for the collections in September. Actual moving and renovation work would begin in October, with an installation of an exhibition to follow in March 2021 and the reopening set for April, in time to celebrate the Cumberland Museum & Archives’ 40th anniversary. While work is happening, the collections might be stored at the Cultural Centre with shipping containers behind the museum to store office supplies. There had been talk about leaving items inside the building behind barriers.

“Museum collections are fragile things,” Shipp explained. “I actually think it’s best to just do our due diligence and actually move our collections outside that space so there’s not even an opportunity for anything careless to happen.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tour de Rock rolls into the Comox Valley

The tour this year featured alumni riders cycling in their specific geographic area

Online series for Valley residents affected by dementia

An estimated 70,000 British Columbians currently living with some form of dementia

Double rainbow delights following first fall storm

It was a light - or double rainbow to be exact -… Continue reading

Valley’s Father Charles Brandt to receive national lifetime achievement award

Father Charles was instrumental in creating the Oyster River Enhancement Society

Comox Valley Ringette Association requests equal ice time

The Comox Valley Ringette Association has appealed to the regional district for… Continue reading

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Two people extricated from single vehicle crash near Forbidden Plateau Road

BC Air Ambulance has been dispatched to the scene

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Island Corridor Foundation launches survey on importance of Vancouver Island rail

“ICF remains 100 per cent committed to the restoration of full rail service on Vancouver Island”

Island RCMP remind drivers not to text after 19 tickets handed out in 90 minutes

The $368 fines were handed out Tuesday on Norwell Drive and Old Island Highway in Nanaimo

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Three years for serial bank robber who hit southern Vancouver Island branch

Lucas Bradwell was wanted for robberies in Abbotsford, Sidney and Vancouver

Most Read