The President of the Michel-Natal-Sparwood Heritage Society is asking for volunteers to help keep the museum open.
Currently the museum is only open two days a week, but Rosalie Fornasier, President of the Michel-Natal-Sparwood Heritage Society, said it may have to close for good if nobody can spare their time.
“I can’t be here every day,” said Fornasier, “I try to come in and I’m here for sure on a Friday, and the other girl is here on a Monday. But from Tuesday to Thursday, there’s nobody here.”
Fornasier said she’s asked seniors in the community to help, but they haven’t been willing to commit their time.
“If we have to close, all this stuff will be going to another, open, existing museum,” she said.
Fornasier said she has asked the Fernie museum if they’d be willing to take some of their artifacts, should the museum close, but she said they aren’t interested because they don’t have the space.
“If we can’t find a museum in the Elk Valley, they would have to leave the area,” she said. “We’d be losing our heritage, especially the heritage of Michel-Natal, and I wonder if we’d ever get it back.”
The museum is currently home to some unique artifacts from Michel-Natal. Fornasier said the oldest is probably the organ from the Michel United Church in 1903.
She said they have begun to collect things from Sparwood’s history but they don’t have the room to display it.
The Society needs volunteers to keep the museum running.
She said it is always the same few people that help out with the different projects that the Heritage Society takes on, like Heritage Week.
The Heritage Society is preparing for their annual general meeting on February 8. There are currently 11 members of the Society, and only two of the members volunteer at the museum.
Fornasier said she would love to get help from people who like to work on things like scanning photographs and putting together albums, but the most important thing is that somebody is there.
“There just needs to be somebody here in case someone comes in,” she said.
In 2009, the museum had 306 visitors, and Fornasier said that it was a low year. They haven’t counted the visitors from 2010 yet.
The Michel-Natal-Sparwood Heritage Society’s annual general meeting will be at the Sparwood Public Library and becoming a member is only $5.