City ‘restructuring’ museum operations

The Dryden and District Museum has not operated under regular business hours since the start of the year, following the retirement of former curator Leah Gardner. Photo by Michael Christianson

By Michael Christianson

The doors to the Dryden and District Museum have been closed since the start of the New Year.

With the retirement of former museum curator Leah Gardner the museum is in a transition period, the results of which are yet to be seen.

Chair of the Museum Board Pat Rigey said that so far they are still waiting to hear from the city about what the next step will be.

Rigey took over as chairperson in September of last year and has much to do in her new position during these past months.

“Leah was in the position for such a long time and we definitely have a large number of artifacts and there’s a large amount of knowledge that Leah has and we’d like to have someone on board as soon as possible so that she can transfer some of that knowledge,” said Rigey.

The museum is asking for community support during this transition time.

With the retirement of Gardner the museum budget in 2017 shows $33,000 less allocated than the 2016 budget of $100,012 with the bulk of the difference coming from wages.

CAO Ernie Remillard said the museum is an important component of the city and they plan to operate within the $67,000 budget approved by council.

Remillard is currently determining the internal structure that the responsibility of the museum will fall under because the city is working on restructuring departments.

“At the end of February after Council meets, we’ll be able to move forward with allocating dedicated resources to the Museum, but we have to allow for shuffling to happen internally prior to this occurring. We are currently working on internal efficiencies between some departments so as this is playing out we will also be addressing the Museum needs,” said Remillard. “I need Council to approve a particular departmental plan first in February before the Museum will have a dedicated resource allocated to it.”

Internal management is currently determining the job requirements to post externally in the near future to assist in museum management.

Whether or not a full time curator will replace Gardner remains to be seen.

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