FORT FRANCES—After getting the thumbs up from Chief Building Official Rick Hallam, museum staff will begin the task of moving back into the newly-renovated Fort Frances Museum this weekend.
“We’re working through the weekend. We hope to more or less be done by Monday,” said museum curator Pam Hawley.
But she noted staff aren’t moving everything back in at this point—just office equipment and more “fragile” parts of the collection, like paper documents and textiles.
“We’re essentially dumping it on the floor because we don’t have shelving or anything up. We don’t have anything to store it in,” laughed Hawley.
“That has to be put into place over the next month before we can get the majority of the collection back,” she added.
On Monday night, town council approved the purchase of high-density mobile storage units for the museum at a cost not to exceed $30,000.
These will be used to store parts of the collection.
Hawley said if anyone sees town staff moving boxes into the museum over the weekend, they’re more than welcome to lend a helping a hand.
She also the occupancy permit Hallam issued is for staff only, and not for the public—meaning the renovated building won’t be open to everyone just yet.
But anyone who may need museum services in the meantime can give Hawley or interpretive development intern Emily Carr a call at 274-7891.
Local residents can expect an open house at the end of February, said Hawley, at which time Phase Two of the Fort Frances Museum Heritage Tourism study also will be presented for public input.
Coincidentally, February also is “Heritage Month.”
Work on the museum, the primary contractor for which has been Ed Kaun & Sons, started in late July. The target date for completion was Feb. 1.
The $900,000 renovation, which ended up on budget according to project manager Brian Avis, has been funded through the town and local businesses, as well as federal and provincial partners.
In related news, Hawley stressed fundraising for the museum renovation is not over yet, with about $15,000 still needed to reach the $75,000 local share required.
“Somebody noted that if everybody in town gave us $2, or every household gave us $10, we’d be done,” she said.
Anyone interested in making a donation can contact the museum.
Another way the public can give is by buying tickets to “A ‘Broad’ View,” an evening with Dini Petty, which goes Friday night at the Townshend Theatre.
Tickets cost $20 each, which are available at the museum, Betty’s, the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce, the Fine Line Art Gallery, and the theatre box office.
The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and will run for about 90 minutes, with an intermission.