Following three months of collecting dust, another local attraction is ready to open its doors.
The Greater Vernon Museum and Archives is excited to begin the gradual process of welcoming members of the public back on site, starting with registered visits. Like much of the province, the GVMA has been closed to the public since mid-March. This resulted in reductions of work duties for all employees, including management.
“Despite this reduction we’ve continued to serve the community through a number of new initiatives,” executive director Steve Fleck said.
While the museum has been closed to the public, curator Cuyler Page has been working on a new permanent exhibit. Page conceived of and has begun construction a new Children’s Museum in the natural history area of the museum, building displays to explore the wonder of the natural world.
“Truly, it will be one of a kind,” said Fleck. “We’re so thankful for the financial support of the Friends of the Museum Society for their donation in 2017, which is being used to purchase building materials.”
Since the museum closure, the GVMA programming team has taken the lead role in the Regional District of the North Okanagan’s Isolate and Create project. Gwyneth Evans, Barbara Bell, and Laisha Rosnau created and manage www.okcreateonline.com.
“It helped us envision – in short order – new ways to provide content and material by connecting with visitors virtually,” program coordinator Rosnau said. “This experience has already had an impact on how we think about curating historical content and engaging people across through a variety of media.”
In addition to increased virtual content and online engagement, opportunities for public onsite visits will be gradually reintroduced.
“The first step is to open the archives for research appointments,” explains Fleck. “We know there are people in our community who depend on being able to access the wealth of historical information available through our archives.”
Beginning Thursday, June 11, the archives will be open by appointment by booking through firstname.lastname@example.org. For the month of June, the time slots available will be 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday mornings and 1 to 4 p.m. on Thursday afternoons. Appointments are first come, first serve, and will be, for the time being, limited to one visitor (or household) at a time.
Once health and safety measures are in place, the GVMA will shift its previous drop-in visitation to having visitors make advanced bookings to visit the museum over the summer, or limiting the amount of visitors in the museum at any one time.