The Shawnigan Lake Historical Society moved into the redundant Shawnigan Fire Hall, in 1983, and set up the permanent home for the Shawnigan Lake Museum. To quote one of the Directors at the time, "we are going to roll around like a few peas in a saucepan". Today, we are more like sardines in a tin.
The Museum has outgrown the building after 40 years. There is one non-accessible/non-conforming washroom; there is no space for programming and events; no storage space and staff and volunteers work in a very limited office space. The museum is a victim of its own success. The community has provided stories and artifacts overtime and continues to do so...and Shawnigan has a big story that needs to be shared!
The expansion is important! It will help to future-proof the museum. Without more space, it will become unsustainable. We need be able to invite the community and visitors in, and to create revenue generating activities that will help support the museum. Already, we know that we need more space than the expansion will provide.
There are museums on Southern Vancouver Island that receive generous funding from their municipality - at least one of them gets over $250k. We do not operate in a municipality. We are grateful that the Regional District gives the Society an annual stipend, but it is only a fraction of the budget that we need to pay the annual expenses.
We must continually write grants, and fundraise, just to keep the museum going.