Board members from the Heritage North Museum spoke to the Chamber of Commerce on April 8 about concerns facing the Manitoba Star attraction site.
Tanna Teneycke, executive director for the museum, says thousands of visitors walk through their doors every year. “We are your voice, we tell them what hotels there are, what restaurants, we tell them where to go. We are very knowledgeable, and we partnered with Travel Manitoba and I have the tourism training for all of the province.”
Teneycke thanked the chamber for applying and for getting the museum a summer student every year. This summer, a university student will be coming back for her third summer as an employee.
However, board member Dale Shantz says there are some problems facing the building. “The museum was built in the 1980s and you know it’s a log building. We are experiencing problems with the base logs on a number of places along the building with rot. Some of the logs are sawdust inside, and we’ve had them tested a number of times by different companies and we need to replace some of those logs.”
Two men from southern Manitoba, who have experience fixing heritage buildings have agreed to help switch the logs out. The logs are currently cut, and waiting for the process to begin, which Shantz says will likely be in May or June. “This needs to be done, it’s a priority, and if not the building is going to have major problems. It’s a beautiful building and should be the pride and joy of Thompson since it’s the first thing tourists see in Thompson, but if it’s left we’re going to have future problems,” noted Shantz.
The building has also had flooding problems because the concrete base for the building was built too close to the ground. There has been work on the landscaping as well as a drainage ditch to channel the water away from the building, and new eavestroughs were put in.
Board member Lynn Taylor, general manager of the Thompson Citizen, says finances have been something the museum has been struggling with for the past five or six years. “The provincial government and the city have moved the distribution time for grants from May for the province and July from the city, now we’re getting stuff from the province as late as November and this year we waited almost until the end of December for the city grant.”
Taylor says the waiting has affected the museum’s ability to hire students in the summer and to carry on with normal operations. However, Taylor noted the museum has been able to balance the budget every year, even with increases from other places. “We have a reserve we’ve set up over the years and we add to it. We do have one grant approved for culture and heritage, which will see us through $18,000 towards this project. We have $20,000 in reserves.”
Teneycke says the log project will likely cost the museum $26,000 and they will be replacing 10 logs this year; although in years to come other logs will have to be replaced.
The new logs will include a protective base on the bottom to protect them from the elements, and every summer the student employee helps stain and preserve the logs.
Other concerns for the museum included hours of operation, and possibly having another employee other than Teneycke to know all the history, and take over if Teneycke needs to take a day off.