Plan presented to relocate North Huron Museum

Doug Kuyvenhoven (left), presents the North Huron Museum Committee Report on October 18, 2021. (Photo by Steve Sabourin, Blackburn Media Inc.)

There is a proposal in front of North Huron council to relocate the museum in Wingham from the former post office downtown to the historic train station, which is further north.

A 49-page report was presented Monday night. It outlined a number of items including the mechanics of the relocation, advantages of the new building and cost.

The station would also house a visitors’ centre.

Bill Farnell was part of the committee that put the report together and says it’s vital for a community to share its story.

“If you don’t have a history of your heritage in an area, than I think you’re missing something real important to the character and the traditions of that community,” said Farnell.

The project plan in the report pegs the cost of the move, which includes renovations and special shelving for the artifacts at $300,000 with the money being raised through government grants, fundraising and sponsorships.

As for attracting visitors, Farnell says there are many possibilities to engage them.

“We have to come up with innovative ways of engaging the public in those stories, and with the new methods of technology that are available now and weren’t 10 years ago, that’s a great possibility,” added Farnell. “You can interact with a display in a museum now by putting your phone up to a QR on a device and bring up a particular artifact that you see and it will give you the history, that kind of thing.”

One of the additional costs would be to move, organize and catalogue all of the artifacts. While part of that cost is built in to the $300,00 total, it would add about $38,000 to the overall cost.

If North Huron council ultimately decides not too go ahead with the plan, the report states it would cost $139,175 to deaccession the artifacts. That is to officially remove items from the listed holdings of the museum, in order to sell it or return it to their original owners.

Several people representing various local organizations, such as the BIA, Lion’s Club, and the Legion, spoke in favour of the move during a public comment period.

One of the comments was that “a museum is a banner for the community” and the stories need to be told.

The report is in staff hands and North Huron Council is expected to review it again on November 10.

The full report can be found as part of the October 18 agenda package. The report starts on Page 98 of the agenda.