Museum needs extraordinary person

Maple Ridge has its work cut out if wants to see this project become a reality

The plan is to put a new museum on 224th Street but money is lacking.

The plan is to put a new museum on 224th Street but money is lacking.

Where is that new museum?

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been asked that question, we’d have a new museum up and running.

The project to add capacity to our existing museum facilities has a lengthy history of its own.

In 1997, the Maple Ridge Historical Society began exploring options for expansion as it was clear that we had outgrown the current building space.

Even then, we only had about seven to eight per cent of the collection on display and the archives were even less accessible.

We began with the obvious plan of expanding on our current site. After all, it is two acres of mostly grass, so there was plenty of room.

We soon found out that the park we are in has a covenant on it specifically forbidding any other buildings on the site.

When the Fraserview apartments were being developed, the official set-aside for parkland was Brickwood Park.

Smaller Jim Hadgkiss Park was an additional donation to the municipality by the Baynes family to preserve the remaining brickyard buildings and more green space along the river.

We spent two years on two different plans to expand on our current site anyway, with additions to the existing museum building in different configurations hoping to get the Baynes family to vary the covenant, but it was not to be.

In 1999, we started looking for a new location.

After a full day workshop with council, historical society members, municipal staff and other interested parties, the location chosen was the property north of Haney House on 224th Street.

At that time, there was no land available in the town core. What dominated the planning at that time was a desire to keep the museum precinct in Port Haney and connected by the Heritage River Walk.

The land north of Haney House was purchased in 2001 and the historical society embarked on a season of renewal to expand and professionalize itself and its financial management to be worthy to take on a greater role.

That accomplished, we finished off 2003 by issuing a request for proposals, then spent 2004-05 working with architect Sharif Senbel and design group KARO on a concept plan for a new museum.

That plan was presented to council and the greater community early in 2006, then everything ground to a halt.

There have been occasional attempts over the ensuing years to revive the project, but none have been successful.

For that reason, we welcomed Ian McLennan and Bruce Cooke – museum development professionals with 90 years of experience between them – to a gathering on Sept. 25 to discuss how to get our stalled project moving again.

According to these professionals, what we need most is a champion – someone with youth and passion and connections to lead the charge and drive the project.

It would take an extraordinary person, but the benefits to that person would be many, including a vastly increased public profile and the chance to bring to the community a new gem that would be remembered forever.

And that’s immortality, isn’t it?

Val Patenaude is director of the Maple Ridge Museum.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Pixabay)
COVID-19 exposure at Westview in Maple Ridge

Third high school reporting virus in 2021

Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue had a helicopter rescue in Golden Ears Park on Saturday. (Special to The News)
Helicopter Rescue in Golden Ears park

Ridge Meadows search team assists injured hiker

A vehicle incident is blocking the eastbound lanes on Lougheed Highway at Jim Robson Way in Maple Ridge on Monday, Jan. 18, 2020. (Google)
TRAFFIC: Lougheed Highway cleared in Maple Ridge, expect congestion

Earlier, eastbound lanes at Jim Robson Way were closed

CP Rail intends to create a logistics park with fuel and grain storage in Pitt Meadows. (Special to The News)
LETTER: CP’s history in Pitt Meadows does not bode well for the future

National rail company needs to be a better neighbour if it wants to expand operations

The pandemic has sent the price of dogs skyrocketing. A local letter writers asks some questions about having pets. (Black Press Media files)
LETTER: Maple Ridge resident questions people’s views on pets

People owe pets the same love and commitment they show to humans, a letter writer contends

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Trees destroyed a Shoreacres home during a wind storm Jan. 13, 2021. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay woman flees just before tree crushes house

Pamala DeRosa is thankful to be alive

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Singletree Winery in Abbotsford has opened two domes where customers can enjoy wine tastings and local goodies. (Photo by Megan Ashley Creative)
Abbotsford winery first in Fraser Valley to open wine-tasting domes

Singletree Winery offers two themed transparent enclosures

Gin, one of the Kantymirs’ two sheep. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Sheep start up ATV, sit in cars and go for walks in Salmon Arm

Until they bought two sheep, Ken and Karleen Kantymir didin’t realize just how social the animals are

Heather Lucier, a pastor at Kelowna Harvest Fellowship, speaks to an RCMP officer outside of Harvest Ministries on Sunday, Jan. 10. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna church fined 2nd time for violating public health order

Harvest Ministries in Kelowna has previously said they will fight the tickets in court

Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons was appointed to the NDP cabinet as minister of social development and poverty reduction after the October 2020 B.C. election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. job training fund increased for developmentally disabled

COVID-19 has affected 1,100 ‘precariously employed’ people

Most Read