Lee Boyco

Grant allows for museum upgrades

Federal funds will help reorganize Sooke Region Museums historical artifacts

The Sooke Region Museum recently received a grant from the federal government to fund part of a large improvement project.

The Museums Assistance Program of the Federal Department of Canadian Heritage approved a grant for about $19,000 to fund the reorganization of storage areas.

“We’ve got a lot of organization do, we’ve had stuff stored for a long time… and we’re getting quite crowded,” said Lee Boyko, Sooke Region Museum executive director.

“We need to sort of add new storage and reorganize some of the existing storage so that it looks after the artifacts better.”

The museum, which has been in operation since 1977, has amassed a variety of different historical items, some of which has not been moved since the early 90s.

“We’re hoping to get a little bit of specialty shelving,” Boyko said. “That grant will definitely help with that side of stuff.”

Currently items are stored along out-dated shelving. Large items are currently stacked on top of one another, while smaller items are cluttered together in spaces without drawers.

Boyco said some of the work that will be done include building structures to increase surface area to better house large items, and the implementation of compartments for smaller items.

Items will also be moved to their appropriate places to ensure they’re properly catalogued, and stored in areas favourable to their preservation.

Work on the museum’s storage areas are expected to begin and be completed this fall, which will require additional part-time workers.

“Once a week for 14 to 16 weeks, we’ll have a larger group of eight or 10 people who will work with the project leaders to go through the material and help identify it. Then eventually move the materials as new shelving gets in.”

The improvement of storage facilities will coincide with a larger project, funded by about $30,000 of internal funds made available through a change in the museum’s tax levy.

The second portion of the project includes: upgrade of collections management systems, extensive inventory work, new computer software, and making a significant portion of the museum’s collection available online.

The museum is also looking to purchase de-humidification equipment and pest treatment facility to better preserve and protect artifacts.