First Quarter 2020 Update on Society Activities

 Society Activity Scope & Overview

 The Society continues to function on four fronts:

1/. The Archives per se

2/. The Reading Room

3/. The Museum (consisting of two parts)

i/.  Museum on 1st Avenue, Ladysmith

ii/. Industrial Heritage site at Oyster Bay Drive

It operates the Archives and Museum on behalf of the Town (which owns the facilities and contents) via a Management & Operating Agreement. The Town provides capital to run these facilities, mostly via a Budget Line Item. Additional capital may be provided, but is not guaranteed, via Grant in Aid for the Museum activity at the waterfront (Industrial Heritage Preservation Group activities).  Services to the public are currently curtailed due to Covid-19 concerns.

4/. Very active Website and Facebook page. Currently doing daily posts.

 Finances:

Doing ok. Sufficient operating cash in hand to cover operating expenses to end June when the next tranche of Town funding kicks in.  2019 Total Expenditure $75,900 vs Income $81,600

 AGM

Postponed from scheduled date April 22nd.

Looking into potentially doing it ’remotely’ if Covid situation persists.

Key business includes:

  • Approval of the revised ByLaws – which have were sent out to members mid December.
  • Board election

 Activities 1st Quarter 2020:

Historically Speaking Talks

January – Earthquake Ladysmith.: History, Reason, Risk and Why you should prepare. Presenter: Q Goodbody (3 times with total audience approx. 70 persons) Venue: Museum & Archives

March –  2nd Boer War Presenter: Rob Johnson. Venue: Museum. 25 people attended.

March – History of Fire in Ladysmith. Presenter: Alex Stuart. Venue: Ladysmith Fire Hall

Future Talks planned:

Climate Change and Global Warming: Understanding the Realities Part 1: Causal factors and History of Climate Change,  Part 2: Greenhouse gases, Who is doing what, Climate change effects,             Forward modelling, Attempts to control. Presenter: Q Goodbody.  Venue: Originally scheduled for the Museum, but currently assessing giving online.

Water Ladysmith -Presenter: Greg Roberts. In the planning stage

Local Healing plants and potions – Daniel Elliott (Stzuminus First Nation). In planning stage

Looking for ideas / volunteers for future talks.

Heritage Week Activities:  February 17-23

 Monday Feb 17th: Family Day at the Museum.  >200 attended

 Thursday Feb 20th: 1st Annual Ladysmith Heritage Awards Presentation. in association with Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce ‘90’th celebration. 1st Annual Ladysmith heritage Awards presented in association with Town of Ladysmith. 45 attended.

 Saturday Feb 22nd Heritage Walk (Rob Johnson), 45 attended – ended up at Museum. Open House at the Waterfront, in association with the LMS. approx. 300 attended

Archives

Sorry to report the passing of a Bonnie Peerens, a longtime and greatly valued volunteer for the Society. Bonnie was a regular presence at the Archives. She will be sorely missed.

Archives building was open 5 days per week until closed mid March due to Covid-19 concerns.

Archives per se

Ongoing activities:

  • Walkem Fonds – Esther Sharp
  • Chronicle Fonds – Phil Christiansen
  • Tax Assessments – longterm project
Reading Room

Ongoing Projects: Research

  • History of  Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce – Ed Nicholson principal
  • Ladysmith Nursing School – Pat Brownfield principal
  • Cemetery Info Compilation – Nancy Roy principal
  • Canadian Colliery Employees – Bridget Watson principal
  • Births/Marriages/Deaths (pre 1920) – Linda McAdam
  • Heritage Trail Inventory in Cowichan Valley* – Marina Sacht principal
  • People & Places Neighbourhood Project *– Lesley Moore principal
  • The Beat Goes On – Music in Ladysmith* – Marina Sacht principal

* Externally funded projects

Planned projects: Research
  • WW2 Cenotaph Stories – Esther/John Sharp
  • Kit Wilmot records online
  • Revision/Expansion of Heritage Inventory
  • Ladysmith Heritage App (with Chamber & Town)
  • Ladysmith’s Natural Heritage (Predators, etc.) M
  • Sport in Ladysmith M (to coincide with 2021 Summer Olympics)
  • Ladysmith Breweries M (to coincide with local brew pubs opening)

(M denotes planned Museum exhibit)

Ongoing Projects: Visitor information
  • Family Histories – Bridget Watson
  • General History – Alistair Cowenberg
  • Property Information (House info, Gas Stn Contamination etc.) Pat Brownfield

Museum

 Includes Museum on 1st Ave and site at 614 Oyster Bay Drive.

Board is steering focus of Museum to not just chronicling the Past, but to illustrate the relevance of Heritage to Present & Future, & to make Museum a recognized place of learning within the community.

Society is still planning to formally request space in the Machine Shop for Industrial Heritage displays. ‘White paper’ and preliminary budget distributed to LDHS Board for comment. End member of space request could be to house Museum and Archives in one place at the waterfront (see concerns about 1st Ave Museum building).

1st Avenue Museum Location:

Plan is to introduce temporary exhibits and associated activities/talks. First Avenue front room being changed into Temporary Feature Exhibit space. First Feature Exhibit to be ‘Vancouver Island Predators – Wolves, Bears, Cougars & Wolverines.’ Feature Exhibits intended to last 4-6 months.

Town Timeline previously in front room is being ‘digitized’  and expanded.

Remaining museum exhibits will be modernized/updated/expanded through the time when capital/manpower available

Exhibit
  • Saltair Quiltersover now. Quilts being removed.
 Planned Exhibits
  • Predators of Vancouver Island (Active planning ongoing.) Vancouver Island Predators: Bears, Cougars, Wolves, Wolverines. Anticipate Summer/Fall 2020 opening – post-Coronavirus A co-operative effort between LDHS Museum, Game & Wildlife, Tundra Speaks, CWS, etc.
  • Future wildlife exhibits planned. Birds, Fish, Insects, Plants
  • Ladysmith Sports.  Olympians, Guinness Records etc. – we got ‘em all…. History, importance and impact of sport in Ladysmith
  • Brewing and Bottling in Ladysmith and District.

Museum at Oyster Bay Drive (Waterfront) location:

Activity continued at the waterfront until halted in March due to COVID-19 concerns. Ongoing work includes: Restoration of Loci 11, Box Car and Humdergin;  securing Loci Shed against break-in: fabricating and installing rebar grids on windows. Planning for restoration of loci shed (doors in particular as they are in perilous condition).

Planned future projects include restoration of:

  • Log flatcar, Jordan Spreader – has Town approval.
  • Dunsmuir Coal Car and side dumper (currently in Cassidy area) – needs Town approval

Uncertainty as to Town’s plans for Arts & Heritage Hub. Working on clarifying plans and how LDHS can contribute.

Some concern regarding 2020 funding from Town Grant in Aid ($7500) due to COVID-19 reduction in 2020 tax revenue. Time will tell….

 Grants in hand

 People & Places: Neighborhood Project  $3055 Grant from BC Heritage Legacy Fund: Heritage Awareness. Report due October 2020. Research ongoing – Lesley Moore principal researcher. Detailing neighborhoods and ethnic diversity in early Ladysmith

 Heritage Trail: Inventory of heritage places in the Cowichan Valley $1100 Grant In Aid from CVRD. Report currently due – but delayed due to winter and COVID-19 closures. To date Chemainus, Crofton, Mill Bay, Maple Bay (Hand of Man), Nanaimo, Shawnigan Lake, Duncan museums visited. Awaiting visit to B.C. Duncan Forest Discovery Centre. Deliverable: a report detailing an inventory of Museums etc., and discussion on state of institutions; potential for a Heritage Trail

 ONE Community, Different Cultures $7500 grant from Heritage BC. Deliverable is a workshop prior to year end ‘ bringing disparate groups together’ to increase awareness, understanding and co-operation’. Preliminary planning ongoing. Volunteers sought.

The Beat Goes On. – Music in Ladysmith.  $15,000 grant from Virtual Museum of Canada. National exposure: Online history of Music in Ladysmith with video, sound, photos, commentary, text. Preliminary planning ongoing. Volunteers sought.

Grant Applications in preparation

BC Heritage Legacy Fund 2020 (Heritage BC) Applying for $7500 matching grant for ToL 2020 $7500 Grant in Aid financing for restoration of CL&RCo Railway Rolling Stock.  Submission deadline May 1st 2020. Awaiting approval letter from Town re: continued restoration of CL&RCo rolling stock.

Community Gaming Grant  Application in process for funding to permit hiring part time Museum Manager/Fundraiser.

 Other planned Activities

 Repainting lower portion of 1st Avenue Museum. Seeking Town approval ?and Development Permit?

Current LDHS Concerns:

  • Stability of Town funding due to Covid-19 situation. ?Will tax shortfall affect town support – especially concerned about GIA for IHPG activity ($7500).
  • State of 1st Ave Museum Building – addition where artifacts stored is vulnerable to flooding (last flood February 2020). Town notified. No official statement from Town, but unofficial message is that the Town is unwilling to incur the required expenditure to fix ($10s of thousands) as the building is slated for demolition in a couple of years.
  • Long term solution for Museum venue needs to be defined. Town plans (are there any?) need to be shared with the LDHS so joint planning can commence. LDHS recommending industrial heritage (+) centre in the waterfront Machine Shop.
  • Vulnerability of First Avenue Museum building to fire and break-in. Society has installed grids on all basement windows, and bars on all the doors – at it’s own expense to protect artifacts.
  • Vagrant occupying back porch of Town-owned old Food Bank building adjacent to Museum – much garbage, cigarette butts etc. left around Museum requiring constant clean-up. Cigarette butts imply heightened fire risk.
  • Requirement for Review/Revision of Archives/Museum Maintenance & Operating Agreement with Town. Communication initiated with Joanna Winter: Society concerns stated in letter – follow-up meeting deferred due to Covid-19.
  • Crime level at Waterfront – March break-in at First Aid Shed and loss of TV etc. (value approx. $650). Garbage and drug paraphernalia frequently has to be cleaned up. RCMP notified. Notification letter sent to Town with recommendations for additional security measures. No reply to date. All locks replaced, doors strengthened and valuable items removed.
  • Uncertainty regarding Town plans for Arts & Heritage Hub.

Respectfully submitted:

Quentin Goodbody, President LDHS, April 2020