In a last ditch attempt to keep the doors open, the Sparwood Michel Natal Heritage Society (SMNHS) is making a public plea for help. The current location of the museum across from New to You in Centennial Square is undergoing extensive renovations and forcing the Museum to move out with nowhere to go. “At this time, we decide whether to store the items and re-open in a new location, or simply close the doors forever,” says Rosalie Fornasier, SMNHS President. The artifacts, photos, oral tapes and other items number in the thousands and were donated by many residents of Sparwood and the former Michel, Natal and Middletown. “These items are priceless, and many of them were from people who have since passed away. It’s going to be a struggle to even find a suitable place to store everything as paper and various other records, furniture and clothing are very susceptible to weather and cold temperature damage. At this point, we don’t even know where we could store everything, never mind move to permanently,” says Fornasier.
The Sparwood Museum is no stranger to troubled times, as they have frequently been at a loss for volunteers to keep the museum open and memberships to keep it going. “We really just have only a few people who are able to volunteer their time, and we have been able to make that work, but at times it is quite a struggle, now with having to move and having nowhere to go, it is time to make a decision,” she says. “It saddens us as a society to think of dissolving the museum or the society as we have put our hearts into this, and preserving the history of Sparwood but there comes a time when you have to say enough is a enough and we need some help.”
As a decision needs to be made within a month the SMNHS is looking to the public for input and options, wondering if the museum is something people are even concerned about keeping going. “We need people to stand behind us, offer input and suggestions and give their time and support if they want to keep this museum going. If we do just close, it is highly unlikely that there will ever be a museum in Sparwood again. What we desperately need now is to know if the museum should stay or go, and if it should stay, we need a new location, boxes to move things, storage, members and volunteers,” says Rosalie. “It is really up to the public to help us make the decision of keeping the doors open or closing them forever.”
For more information or to help please call Rosalie Fornasier at 250.425.6443 or Monica Beranek at 250.425.6300.