The Fernie & District Historical Society (FDHS) has recently held their annual general meeting (AGM) to determine the future of the orgaization.
The FDHS reviewed their current priorities, which include reducing debt, maintaining their position as a valued attraction in Ferine’s Historical Downtown, and resuming high-quality programming when safe.
The society also elected eight new board directors, reflecting Fernie’s diversity with representatives from the Ktunaxa Nation, the medical community, publishing, business, retail, community services, education, and hospitality.
Nic Milligan was appointed as the FDHS’s new president, Gordon Sombrowski as the new vice president, Alicia Clarke as treasurer, and Dr. Sheri Bentley as secretary. Other board directors include Bonnie Harvey, Jennifer Cronin, Lori Bradish, and James Woodall.
In the coming months, the board will engage in a series of meetings to review the FDHS’s operations, and ways to achieve future goals.
“It is worth noting that, across the province, heritage organizations are struggling,” said Milligan.
“According to a survey by Heritage BC and the BC Museums Association, top issues the sector is facing include fundraising, financial and contingency planning, revenue diversification, online programming, program development, and community partnerships.”
According to Milligan, the most serious challenges to recovery are depleted reserves, reduced fundraising opportunities, health regulations that restrict activities, and diminished visitation and loss of tourism. He also notes that little government funding can be attributed to the lack of appreciation of the heritage sector as essential for tourism.
This said, Milligan is grateful for the support the community has given the Fernie Museum and FDHS since reopening in late July.
“The Museum saw over 750 visitors in August and has already welcomed over 170 visitors in September,” said Milligan.
“Memberships have doubled in 2020 and the society has received a number of generous donations and debt forgiveness from local creditors, for which we are profoundly grateful.”
To further support the FDHS throughout September, residents are encouraged to fill up vehicles at the Fernie Cardlock using debit cards, as the Museum will receive four cents for every litre.
Locals may also purchase a raffle ticket for the Merged Stars Quilt, designed, created and donated by Louise Poirier. Tickets can be purchased from the Museum or TD Canada Trust for $2, or three for $5. The winner will be announced on Oct. 22.
The FDHS also urges anyone looking to get involved to join one of their six committees.
The Museum is currently open Thursday to Sunday from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. The hours will be reviewed in the coming months, with the intention of eventually resuming seven-day operations. For more information, visit the Fernie Museum’s website at Ferniemuseum.com.