Have you ever looked at one of the display cases in the Alberni Valley Museum and thought, “that’s a cool artefact—I’d love to have one of those!”
Now you can.
The museum and Alberni Valley Heritage Commission this week launched the new Adopt An Artefact program.
“The Alberni Valley Museum reflects the richly diverse past of the valley through an extensive collection of artefacts linked to our varied cultural past, industrial heritage, community history and artistic heritage,” museum curator Shelley Harding shared.
In addition to homegrown exhibitions and travelling exhibits, the museum boasts display cases full of artefacts people have generously donated to the museum. They also have a large number of paintings and prints—some from big names like Emily Carr or the Group of Seven—as well as items unique to the Alberni Valley’s history.
For a small museum it has a big reputation, and that is reflected in the type of donations it receives.
The Adopt an Artefact Program will give individuals, organizations, community groups, schools, businesses, etc., the chance to select and sponsor an artefact for a year. The adoption certificates can be presented as a gift, purchased to recognize a milestone, as a group project or any number of reasons.
“It’s a way to create sustainability for the museum,” Harding said. It’s also a way to protect and preserve the city’s history.
A list of artefacts available for annual adoption will be released this week. They range from toy trains to sports jerseys, cameras to just about anything you can think of. Even the No. 7 Baldwin locomotive is adoptable—for the right price.
“We tried to pick a variety of things that would appeal to various interests.”
You don’t get to take the artefact home—you get bragging rights for a year that it is yours, though.
Sponsors will receive a tax deduction for their donation. Adoption levels start at $25 and go up to $500 and beyond. There are different benefits for different levels of donation, such as invitations to museum events—when they’re allowed to hold them again.
Harding would love to see the program grow to allow sponsors to “visit” with their archives, in a special behind-the-scenes tour, once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. “It’s got potential to grow,” she said. “I think there’s more we can do later on. We’re going to start minimalist right now.”
The program will be up on the city’s website soon (playinpa.ca). If you can’t wait for the online catalogue, call the AV Museum at 250-720-2863. Or you can check out the artefacts yourself: the museum is open 12–4 p.m. from Wednesday to Saturday, with COVID-19 protocols in place.
Anyone who adopts an artefact for the year will receive a package with a certificate showing “ownership” for the year, as well as a factsheet with a photo and information on the artefact. Sponsors’ names will be listed on the city’s website, and later on a rotating feature at the museum itself.
Which piece of Port Alberni’s history would you like to call your own for a year?
— Susie Quinn is the Alberni Valley News editor.
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