Bonsoir, good evening everybody.

My name is Lise Ouimet and I am a volunteer at the Archives at R.J. Haney Heritage Village.

I was expecting a small group of people around a table and this is a little overwhelming for me. Public speaking is not my forte, so I trust you will bear with me !!! My husband has for the past 3 days...

The museum and archives have been in moving mode since May 2018 and we are finally in. We have had to work very hard for the last five months, but the volunteers and staff are really happy to be in the Montebello building.

Why is everyone so happy? A taste of the before and after might answer the question.

As a personal insight, when I started to volunteer 9 years ago, I was given the task of writing key terms for the photo collection and this made me really happy! Because there was no available desk, I had to work outside of the archives room. I worked in the museum area in front of a small folding table. I was given a laptop to work on. I did not complain because my brain was active again. I missed the responsibility I had as a teacher/librarian when I was working. As the collection continues to grow, I add more key terms to photographs, input new records for artefacts, and work with the curator on records management. This is a job that will never end!

You should see my work area now !!! I have a desk that is more than two metres long. I have a large shelf of resources conveniently above my desk. There is now a designated computer for museum and archives work and access to the printer.

I was not the only one affected by the lack of room.

Volunteers had to work on a rotation schedule, sometimes there were up to 6 of us on any particular day. Visitors stayed in the reception area to look at photograph binders when they wanted to order pictures and it was difficult to accomodate wheelchairs. The artefacts downstairs were organized but on really crowded shelves with poor visibility.

Last year three visitors came from the Seattle area: an elderly mother in a wheel chair and her two daughters. The mother, Audrey Damgaard, was born and raised in Salmon Arm. The three women asked for information on the Damgaard family. We found some pictures of Audrey as a teenager, of her dad the Reeve, and the house Audrey grew up in. Our visitors were really happy. Imagine a wheelchair and three people in my little corner, crowded over my computer. It wasn’t very comfortable or welcoming!

The situation has changed.

And now:

The archives workroom has large areas with better lighting, twice as many desks, and one workspace designated for visitors.

The archives has a vault that holds documents, photos, negatives, maps, newspapers, fonds, and subject files. They are valuable. The archives has room to grow with more shelving units. Everything is easily accessible.

The artefacts area is well organized by category with many items safely wrapped in acid free foam and easily visible on tall shelving units. Textiles hang nicely from hangers in cotton bags sewn by another volunteer.

After all the shelving is in place, the location of each item needs to be updated in the data base for easy and quick access. We will be able to accommodate individual visitors and groups of visitors.

The work area and atmosphere are already so much more stimulating and bubbling with activity. All of this is in part due to funding from MAP (Museum Assistance Program), the Shuswap Community Foundation and the B.C. Arts Council.

We hope that you all realize how much staff and volunteers appreciate your gift.

Volunteer Registrar Anne Grant at the work table,
Nancy Tait sorting Salmon Arm Observer
photographs, and Jean Lazzarotto taking a break
from her subject files.

Ted McTaggart makes a habit of dropping in
when Jean works. She is a former teacher librarian and recommends books to Ted.



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