President’s Report | June 2020

Hello members,

Here is the June 2020 monthly update on Society activities:

COVID-19 is still with us, but appears to be on the wane in our part of the world. This, however, does not yet mean that we can relax our social distancing, handwashing and other mitigation measures.

Businesses and municipal offices are re-opening in accordance with government-controlled relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions. The LDHS Board is carefully considering the reopening to the public of the Archives, Museum and Industrial Heritage site. In preparation for doing so we are familiarizing ourselves with guidelines from WorkSafeBC, BC Parks & Recreation, The BC Museums Association, and consulting with the Town and other similar institutions such as the Nanaimo Museum , other Ladysmith societies – and of course our staff/volunteers. Once approved by the Board, Covid instructions for visitors will be posted at the entryways to the Archives, 1st Ave Museum and Waterfront Industrial Heritage site, and guidelines for operating will be provided to staff/volunteers. They will also be posted on the LDHS website.

Our aim is to provide a safe setting in which everyone entering can have confidence that all reasonable precautions are being taken. Time will tell if and when that confidence is there. We have already seen an uptick of people wanting to visit the Archives.

Barring issues, our aim is to open some of the LDHS facilities to the public sometime in July. We will keep you posted. We do ask that if you can, please conduct your Archives business by phone (250 245 0100) or email (info@ladysmithhistoricalsociety.ca).

Museum visitation, initially at least, will be by appointment – made through the same contacts as noted above. We are exploring working with the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce to facilitate openings to visitors.

Despite the COVID lockdown, Culture Doesn’t Stop: i.e. things have continued to happen within the Society:

The Website and Facebook pages have received considerable attention; the layout has been updated and contents significantly expanded. This work is ongoing and has in part been funded by a Resilience Grant of $2000 provided by the BC Museums Association – for which we are very grateful. If you have not done so, please take the time to peruse us online. There is a treasure trove of heritage information there.  Many thanks to Marina Sacht and Mark Anderson for their Trojan work – and to Paul Mycroft for consulting with us on his website expertise.

Another online offering by the Society: as part of  ‘HomeTown Tourist Weekend 2020, the LDHS is hosting on June 20th at 7.00 pm an online virtual walking tour titled ‘Harbour Heritage: a virtual walk through the history of Ladysmith Harbour.’  The beauty of today’s Transfer Beach and Marina belies it’s industrial past. This virtual walk, through photographs and narrative, shows what the harbour was like in its industrial heyday, points out where things were, and what vestiges remain.

Links that will allow you to connect with will be posted. Do come and join us in this virtual walk through the history of our Town!  If there is sufficient interest, an actual walk will be organised in the future.

The front room of the Museum has had a make-over in preparation for the opening of the temporary exhibit ‘Predators of Vancouver Island’: thanks to Cheryl Bancroft and Robin Millan for their artistic efforts – worth a visit in itself to see! The featured Bears, Cougars, Wolves and Wolverines are an important  part of our natural heritage. In addition to impressive exhibits and photos, the biology and ecology of  these animals will be presented along with their importance to us humans both historically and now, and what you should do if you meet one – which is perfectly possible in the environs of Ladysmith. The opening is currently planned for sometime in July – keep an eye out for more news on when and how to view this exciting exhibit.

The Ladysmith Timeline which used to occupy the walls of the front room has been digitized and is being updated, expanded and prepared for exhibit via interactive screen.

The Society was successful in its application to The Virtual Museum of Canada for funding for a Community Stories project entitled ‘The Beat Goes On – Music in Ladysmith’. The objective is to share the story of the music/cultural scene in Ladysmith from pre-settler times to today by using archival, historical, video and audio material along with oral histories. More details on the project can be seen on the Website. We are actively looking for volunteers and people to become involved: musicians especially welcome! This is a great opportunity to showcase Ladysmith’s musical history and talent on the national stage.

The LDHS has received funding through the Heritage Legacy Fund of B.C. (administered by Heritage BC) for a project titled “ONE Community, Different Cultures’. The deliverable is to host a workshop or workshop series that will use a facilitator and guest speakers to unite groups in the central Vancouver Island rural communities that have an interest in heritage. We see this as a way to increase communication and understanding between groups/societies, develop a better understanding of each other’s aims, and find a way to cooperate to make them happen.

The Board is still considering how best to hold the Annual General Meeting – postponed from April by COVID-19 restrictions. This is a tricky issue due to the relatively vulnerable nature of our membership re: COVID-19.  Options include holding an ‘actual’ meeting with Covid-19 protocols in place; holding a  ‘virtual’ meeting using Zoom (an online meeting application) through computer connection or phone-in or mail ballot, or a combination ‘actual and virtual’ meeting.

Partly by way of determining how many members can use Zoom, the Board set up  Zoom practice sessions on June 8th, 9th, and 10th. These were not well attended –which could signify that most members are familiar enough with computers and the Zoom App not to need a practice session – but more realistically we believe it is due to discomfort or inability among the membership to working online. Currently, we are leaning toward an ‘actual’ meeting to be held outside with a barbeque on Saturday, August 22, 2020, at noon. We are still determining the best location in mid-August. We will keep you posted.

Key AGM business to be conducted includes provision of the financial report, annual society status report, election of a new Board and approval of the revised Bylaws (which have been on the website for members to review since December).

So despite COVID-19  there is a lot happening! We would love you to become involved.

If interested, please email info@ladysmithhistoricalsociety.ca or phone 250 245 0100. This is, after all, your society!

Stay safe and enjoy the coming summer!

 

Q Goodbody

President LDHS