Now that the buildings of the Brome County Historical Society (BCHS) have been stabilized for another generation, Tempo visited BCHS curator, Jeremy Reeves, and archivist, Abbey Lacroix, to find out about their plans for the collections.
“The future of museums, said Jeremy Reeves, BCHS curator, is a combination of a physical space where items in the collection can be showcased and a web-presence where people can explore the collection from a distance.”
“For instance,” added Abbey Lacroix, the archivist, “If we consider World War I, the Museum has a number of exciting and rare physical artifacts such as the Fokker, a German WW1 air-plane. Hidden away in our archives though, is our world-class collection of World War I documents and images. A recent grant from the federal government has enabled us to digitize all of this collection. Now the full potential of our collection is available.”
“We use exhibits to showcase parts of our physical collection,” said Reeves. “To do that well, we needed more exhibit space. By adding interior walls to the Centennial Building space, we have expanded the floor space by 100% and the wall space by 400%. Opening hours are important too. Now, in the summer, the entire museum is open seven days a week. In the winter, the Centennial Building and the Children’s Museum are open six days a week. If I am on-site, you can ask me to let you into the rest of the museum.”
There are plans also to attract more visitors. “We have two distinct types of visitors,” added Reeves, “locals and out-of-towners.” Our plan is to find a convergence between the interests of both groups. For instance, in the spring of 2021, we will showcase Sydney Fisher, a well known local resident. Beyond his important work as Minister of Agriculture, he was not only well known here in Knowlton, but he also played a tremendous role in the early history of both the National Archives and the National Gallery. He is thus a local individual with a much broader national story.”
“We don’t have the resources to attract visitors from away, so our plans are to network with other local organizations that do,” said Lacroix. “A good example of this type of partnership is how we worked with the town during the Winter Festival. We provided park- ing, warm drinks, visits to the Children’s Museum and carriage rides to the Beach. Both the community and the Museum benefitted.”
Reeves and Lacroix are young, skilled, full of energy and thoughtful plans. We have every reason to be optimistic about the Museum’s future