TUMBLER RIDGE, B.C. — The Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation is hoping it will be able to reopen its doors by June 1st after recently receiving two separate offers of $50,000 in funding.
The Foundation was forced to close its doors at the end of March after it was denied an application for a $200,000 grant from the District of Tumbler Ridge earlier this year. However, a motion by Mayor Don McPherson to grant the Foundation $50,000 to open five days a week from June 1st to October 1st was approved at a District Council meeting on May 7th. Included in that motion was that District staff draw up a referendum to hear from residents about whether they would like the District to continue funding the museum going forward.
Foundation spokesperson Dr. Charles Helm said that the Foundation is grateful for the funding offer from the District. He said that the Foundation recently received a $50,000 grant from a private donor challenging governments and other funding sources to contribute funds to enable the museum to reopen.
Dr. Helm said that the Foundation has also made a request to the provincial government for emergency funding support, and is also approaching local and regional industry and service groups. He explained that the Foundation’s goal is to raise a total of $200,000, although he said that raising $150,000 would allow the museum to open until the end of September and continue raising the remainder of the required funds in the interim.
“Re-opening our museum would allow us to leverage external funds: over $300,000 is anticipated, which includes the enhancement of exhibits and educational programs,” said Dr. Helm in a release. “It will also enable us to complete a major $500,000 renovation project that will enhance our facility, through external funding from Cultural Spaces and the Northern Development Initiative Trust.”
Helm said that the Foundation’s long-term goal is to continue to secure stable funding, of which he said a significant portion should come from the provincial government due to the importance of the paleontological work by done at the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre, and the precedent set in other jurisdictions in Canada and the U.S.