On March 2, 2019, the Brome County Historical Society held its 122nd Annual General Meeting. The message of the meeting was renewal, preparing the museum to last another 100 years.
The first step in the renewal of the museum has been to refurbish all of the museum’s buildings. Directed by Richard Santo and Jack Walker, this project is now complete. At the AGM, Santo announced that the museum’s buildings are now all sound and will last for another generation. Nearly $600,000 was required to do this work. Half of these funds came as a matching grant from the Federal Government and the balance was raised in the community.
The second step in the renewal is now underway. The objective is to enhance how visitors and researchers experience the collections. Again, the funds required to do this are beyond what can be raised in the community. Consequently, a comprehensive proposal for accreditation has been completed by a team, led by Donald Gray Donald and Alan Mass, with the bulk of the work being done by Cari Ensio and Abbey Lacroix with some back-up work by Jeremy Reeves. This proposal is now being evaluated by the province. If successful, funds will be available for an enhanced level of operations. It is hoped that there will be an answer by this summer.
This accreditation demands that there be three full time staff and that the museum be open all year. The operational objective is to make the museum a major destination for researchers and visitors and to offer more value to the community.
Central to this objective will be the the use of the web. Jeremy Reeves and Abbey Lacroix gave a short demonstration of a new website that will be launched this summer. The new website will make it easy to showcase the museum’s digitized artifacts and documents. For instance, BCHS has the best World War 1 collection outside of the national system and its collection is now fully accessible. Thanks to the help of Tony and Diane Marsh, Abbey Lacroix has plans to digitize much of the collection. In combination with more use of social media and a new marketing plan, the new web- site will also act as a window into all the physical artifacts and exhibits and it will make it easier for everyone, visitors and members, to book tickets and make payments online.
The President, Peter White, thanked Cari Ensio and Joanne Croghan for all their help in the past and welcomed Jeremy Reeves as the new Curator and Abbey Lacroix, who now moves to the full time position as Archivist. Two new members were elected to the board, Helgi Soutar and John Ballard.