The Dartmouth Heritage Museum reopened its doors on Tuesday after being forced to shut down and lay off staff last December when it didn’t meet revenue targets.
“We reopened today and we’re going to sort of limp along until the end of our fiscal year which is March 31,” the museum’s executive director Bonnie Elliott said.
#Dartmouth Heritage Museum reopened today after closing last Dec. when it didn’t meet revenue targets. @dhmuseum1 pic.twitter长沙桑拿/RQbVe81XxV
— Rebecca Lau (@RebeccaLau) March 1, 2016
The museum remains in dire need of more funding from the municipality and a staff report to examine that need is in the works.
“Right now, we don’t have a curator or a collection manager. I’m the only full-time staff,” Elliott said.
“We have a wonderful bank of volunteers, but we need people to be able to function in positions that are absolutely necessary if we’re going to carry out our mandate.”
Aside from the Evergreen House on Newcastle Street, which is open year-round, the museum also operates Quaker House in the summer. There is also a 7,500-sq. ft. warehouse in the Burnside Industrial Park where most of the artifacts are kept.
“There’s everything from furniture to ceramics and glass. There’s a textile collection, there’s an archives, there’s sleighs, there’s an ice cutter machine, there’s you name it —; a full gamut of historical collection,” Elliott said.
All of the properties and artifacts are owned by the municipality. Dartmouth Centre Coun. Gloria McCluskey, who is a big supporter of the museum, says it is a waste that those artifacts aren’t on display for the public.
“The artifacts have been up there. We have been paying thousands of dollars a year to keep them in storage,” McCluskey said.
The councillor remains optimistic the museum will not only be saved but will eventually expand into the former Dartmouth City Hall building. For now, however, she’s awaiting the staff report.
“I understand the museum has asked for $175,000 to run the artifacts the warehouse with the artifacts and other work. I have no idea what staff is recommending,” she said.
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A spokesperson from the municipality says the staff report has not been finalized yet but is expected before council soon. The recommendations in the report will be used to update the management agreement with the museum, which would include funding.
Elliott says the discussions with the municipality have been positive so far and she’s hopeful everyone will see the importance of sustaining the museum.
“History is a very important aspect of our culture. It’s where we come from and where we are now,” she said.
“It’s about civic pride. Be proud of where you come from and also understand how you got there and who you are today.”