After much anticipation, planning and grant writing the renovation of the Cortes Island Museum & Archives Society (CIMAS) building was begun in 2012. Construction started on the west wing in January, stopping during the busy summer months. In the fall the interior of the west wing was completed, while construction on the larger south wing was begun.
Interest in the Wild Cortes: Woods, Wetlands and Waters exhibit was stimulated with a photo contest co-sponsored by the Museum and the Old School House Art Gallery where they were judged and exhibited for 2 weeks. There were 3 categories and 3 age groups. Winning photos and others with honourable mention then became part of the exhibit at the Museum. The number of visitors to the museum during the busy summer season increased significantly (500 more than in 2011).
In May 2012 the CIMAS Board participated in a strategic planning session facilitated by Chris Dragseth to begin formulating a 5-year plan. Work continues on this and the Strategic Plan will be posted on the CIMAS website in 2013.
PUBLIC EDUCATION PROGRAM
The Public Education Program includes the Museum Exhibit, the Heritage Garden, the School Programs and Community Outreach events. This program develops activities that educate and involve the general public, including Cortes residents, First Nation groups, children, seniors and students. Exhibits and events spotlighting Cortes history relate the past to current issues while preserving important artifacts and archival materials.
In addition to the permanent exhibit of Cortes History, the Pioneer Kitchen, the Klahoose First Nation display and the Comfy Corner reading area the following two new exhibits were created this year.
The Wild Cortes: Woods, Wetlands Waters exhibit grew and evolved throughout the summer, bringing many visitors back more than once to track the progress. The exhibit follows the flow of water through four ecosystems: from high bluffs down through forests, to wetlands and out to the ocean. Laurel Bohart’s outstanding taxidermy mounts were featured with 4 amazing backdrop murals painted by summer student hostess, Hannah Petkau. A magnificent bald eagle greeted visitors as they entered the Museum. A popular display with kids featured animal and bird skulls, ranging from a tiny bat to the gigantic Steller sea lion. This interesting display of many varied sizes of skulls was loaned by Doreen Guthrie, Doug Weyler, Christian Gronau, Lynne Jordan and Laurel Bohart. The late Hans Trettin created a geology exhibit about wetlands and an explanation of white sand beaches at local lakes. The Wild Cortes exhibit will continue through next summer.
A mini-exhibit The Peony – Symbol of Beauty &Survival was a joint project of the Archives and Heritage Garden committees in 2012. The exhibit was inspired by a paper presented to the Whaletown Women’s Institute in 1925 concerning the possibility of women growing peonies as a source of independent income. Using archival material, photographs from the Heritage Garden, poetry and artwork, the exhibit explores the history and romance of the peony, as well as the economic and social conditions on Cortes in the 1920s which formed the context of this talk. In May and June, the exhibit extends into the Museum’s Heritage Garden, which features a collection of heritage peonies.
With the Museum storage areas “in flux” for the whole year with expansion of the building, the Collections Committee was not active. Once expansion areas are completed there will be room to continue cataloguing artifacts that were received prior to construction.
An exhibit for the CIMAS Exhibit Gallery was completed, entitled The Peony- Symbol of Beauty and Survival. The exhibit was a joint archives/heritage garden project, and used materials from the archives and images from the Heritage Garden.
The expansion of the Museum building on the western side in 2012 resulted in some structural changes to garden beds and the reconfiguration of the drip irrigation system. The cement edging on raised beds was removed and beds and irrigation lines were shortened. The distribution box for the drip irrigation system was moved to the new western outer wall of the Museum and irrigation lines reconnected. The pruning program for the heritage apple trees and other garden trees and shrubs was continued, and clipping was necessary on the apple trees to control tent caterpillar nests. Additional heritage peonies, bulbs, and heritage dahlias were planted in the garden for enhanced summer colour.
Walks & Talks
Lynne Jordan continued to provide tours of the island and Manson’s Lagoon for donations to the Museum. PACIFIC YELLOWFIN visited Manson’s Landing on regular weekly visits with international visitors aboard. After touring the Museum and with the help of Joe Jordan’s truck, these visitors were treated to a Canadian experience with tours of the Kw’as Park Beaver Pond and Manson’s Lagoon. This group is always generous with their donations and purchases in the Museum Shop.
The Seniors Helping Seniors had to move their Literary Afternoons in the fall to Manson’s Hall because of the Museum construction but they will return to the Museum venue in spring 2013.
The Pre-school visited the exhibits in May and commented in the guest book with the things each student liked best. Their favourite things were quite varied, and it was interesting to see what intrigued them.
The Public School’s Grade 3-4 Class and the Grade 8-9 Class participated in a barefoot mapping project in conjunction with the Museum’s exhibit on Wild Cortes – Woods, Wetlands, and Waters. The students were introduced to simple compass and mapping skills in preparation for doing barefoot mapping in the field. Following each classroom orientation, the students spent a half day mapping and photographing a section of their respective creeks. The Grade 3-4 Class paid a rainy field visit to the Whaletown Creek, completing maps and taking some artistic photos, several of which were contributors and winners of the Wild Cortes photo competition. These photos were included in the Museum’s display at the Old School House gallery in June. The Grade 7-8 Class completed barefoot maps of James Creek which were mounted and on display at the Museum during the summer of 2012.
All the classes of the Cortes Island School observed a taxidermy demonstration of a Belted Kingfisher offered generously by Laurel Bohart at the Museum in the spring of 2012. Each class rotated through the Museum, watching one stage in the taxidermy process, with opportunity for discussion and questions from the students. The students observed the initial sketches and recording of physical characteristics, dissection, and the beginning steps of preparing a specimen for mounting. Each class finished their visit to the Museum with an opportunity to wander and explore the exhibits. The kingfisher was frozen for a final demonstration for the students in October, 2012. Laurel brought the kingfisher specimen and tools to the school, and showed the students the balance of most of the steps to bring the kingfisher to the stage of mounting. The students were fascinated with the opportunity to observe and discuss the art and science of taxidermy, so completely new to all of them. Many thanks to Laurel Bohart for sharing her knowledge and skills with the children!
Following the release last year of the first 2 booklets in a new history series: In the Beginning (an overview of Cortes history) and Carrington Bay (stories and photos of its settlement), research for two new booklets began this year. The 3rd booklet will focus on Manson’s Landing as part of the 125th anniversary exhibit and celebration planned for 2013. The 4th booklet will feature Squirrel Cove. The booklets are sold in the Museum Shop for a small profit. At $5 each they are a bargain.
On May 5th a group of 15 enjoyed a day of spring birding spotting 63 different species around the island. The Museum again co-sponsored with Bird Studies Canada the 13th annual Christmas Bird Count on December 16th. The weather was reasonable for that time of year and the 30 birders who participated spotted 70 species of birds.
Misty Isles Cruises
The Museum sponsored ten interpreted cruises aboard MISTY ISLES with Samantha and Mike Moore. By far the majority of participants come from off island to spend a pleasant day out on the waters around Cortes. Using a small army of cars and drivers, participants are shuttled from the ferry to MISTY ISLES in another bay and back to the ferry at the end of the day. The Museum sometimes has a visitor greeting dog for a day while its owner spends a day on the water. A great new experience this year was the Low Tide Reef Exploration with Sabina Leader-Mense off south Hernando Island (July 23rd in 2013). Thanks to Samantha and Mike, these trips are major fund raisers for the Museum, bringing in $2300 this year.
Tourist/Visitor Information Booth
The Tourist/Visitor Information Booth (T/VIB) in the Museum foyer and the road signs definitely bring more visitors into the Museum. Some just want a map but many stay to view the exhibits or purchase something in the shop. The Tourist Booth also generates donations to the Museum from odd requests, such as storing a truck and boat trailer for a month while the owners were off sailing, bicycle rentals and transportation for a family back to their yacht at the SYC.
In 2012 the Archives and Heritage Garden committees collaborated on a display, “The Peony – Symbol of Beauty & Survival”, which drew upon material found in our archives. We continued to arrange and describe records from our backlog, and received and processed three new donations, records from the Cortes Island Transportation Committee, the Cortes Emergency First Aid Service and the Harbour Authority of Cortes Island. Volunteers Gina and Jerzy Trzesicki digitized George Sirk’s slides of Cortes in the 1970s and 1980s and the albums of Dorothy Huck, which contain images of the island in the 1920s. The archives database program, InMagic, was updated to the latest version to be compatible with the Museum’s new computer.
GENERAL CIMAS INFORMATION
The purpose of the building expansion was to create two new climate controlled rooms to house the ever expanding Artifact and Archival Collections. In addition, with new dedicated CIMAS office space and work space, the Public Archives Room will now have a place to house Information Files, a public computer to access the Archives digital collection, a table to properly view archive material and a map cabinet.
The CIMAS Board gratefully acknowledges Hubert Havelaar and his crew for working with us through all the challenges an old building entails. Thanks also to the Cortes Island Fire-Fighters Association for allowing the Museum to expand its footprint. We especially want to acknowledge the hard work of all the volunteers that helped with the building expansion!
A huge thanks this year to Sandra Wood for helping secure the following funding for the expansion project: Heritage Canada’s Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage Legacy Fund (50k in 2012), BC Arts Council Capacity & Sustainability Grant (16.6K in 2011), Vancouver Foundation (10K) and Tides Canada (3K). The Board also acknowledges the generous help for the expansion from the Strathcona Regional District (2K), the Coastal Community Credit Union (6.5K), local businesses and many generous private donors of funds and materials.
The Gaming Commission increased the 2011 grant in February 2012 by 6K and then provided a 2012/13 grant of 12K in September to support the Museum’s Public Education & Archives programs. The summer student Host/interpreter position was partly funded by Human Resources & Skills Development Canada (4.8K).
The “Creative Spaces – Gardens & Studios” supported by many island artists and gardeners was a major fundraiser for CIMAS. Other fundraising activities included Misty Isles Cruises, donations collected at the door, and Museum Shop sales. A 7 year old from Victoria won the rocking chair donated by Mary Dudley.
Board of Directors
2012 Board of Directors with areas of focus:
Lynne Jordan (President) – administration, community outreach, exhibit, collections, grant writing, T/VIB
Nancy Kendel (Vice President) – administration, community outreach, grant writing, building expansion
Mags Johnston (Secretary)
Dale Henderson (Treasurer)
Laurel Bohart – exhibit, youth/school program
Dave Carew – building expansion
Ian Disney – collections, building maintenance, building expansion
Bonnie MacDonald – collections, grant writing, building expansion
Maryann McCoy – heritage garden, collections
Donna McLaren – heritage garden, archives, T/VIB, grant writing, building expansion
Jill Milton – archives, building expansion
Lorena Teames – community outreach & events
A number of volunteers provided essential support to the Board. Special thanks to Christine Robinson for being the Youth/School Program Coordinator, Sandra Wood for assistance in grant writing, Cindy Beaulieu for payroll support, Debbie Dragseth and Janet Turpin for help with bookkeeping, Carol London for help producing the year-end financial statement, Peter Henbury who keeps our computer happy and backed up and maintains the Museum’s website www.cortesmuseum.ca . Special thanks to Dino Tsakonas and Twincomm for supporting our high speed internet connection, Bertha Jeffery for advertising support and David Rousseau who created the expansion plans. Ray Kendel, Walter Grundmann, Joe Jordan and Tom Bohart help keep the facility operational.
Three part-time employees hosted the exhibits – Patricia leRoux, Samantha Moore and Hannah Petkau.
Society memberships were again promoted at the AGM and throughout the year at the Museum. Memberships are also collected at the Friday Markets and other events. In November an invitation to renew memberships was included in a newsletter distributed in the post to all islanders and off-island members. The membership in 2012 remained stable at 238.
The commitment of our volunteers is what keeps the Museum a vibrant focal point of this community. A total of 89 volunteers donated an amazing 3859 hours of their time to the CIMAS programs. A complete list of all who helped this year can be seen at the Museum… thank you, thank you, thank-you!
PLANS BEING CONSIDERED FOR 2013
Complete the expansion by the end of March Community ribbon cutting ceremony April/May
Create Manson’s Landing Exhibit celebrating 125 years Complete the Wild Cortes – Woods, Wetlands & Waters exhibit of 4 diverse island ecosystems Make additions to the permanent display of Cortes Island history Creation of an album with information on each of the local birds
Re-convene the Collection Committee Catalogue and store donated artifacts in new storage area
Continue joint Archives/Heritage Garden Exhibit The Peony – Symbol of Beauty & Survival until the CIMAS garden tour in mid-June Design and install new raised bed borders Continue adding to the heritage peony/dahlia/bulb collections for summer colour in the garden
Liaise with the pre-school and public school to develop educational programs Host Spring Migration and Christmas Bird Count events Host “Literary Afternoon Teas at the Museum for Seniors” featuring local writers Host speakers and island walks/tours Produce 2 new history booklets to sell in Museum Shop Host book launches for local authors
Tourist/Visitor Information Booth
Maintain summer opening hours of six days a week Maintain winter opening hours two days a week Create album of comprehensive tourist information
Move into the new archives storage area and establish climate control protocol for proper long-term storage of materials Install a new desk with a computer dedicated to archives use in the Public Archive Room Work on arranging and describing our backlog of materials, with emphasis on the records of May and Elmer Ellingsen Digitize more of the photographs in our collection Fundraising
Creative Spaces Tour
Find a volunteer coordinator, and willing gardeners and artists to feature
Sell items which reflect Cortes and surrounding area Encourage artists to place locally crafted juried items to sell
Misty Isles Cruises planned for 2013:
May 24th, June 8th Mitlenatch Island June 16th, Laughing Oyster Solstice Cruise June 29-30th, Overnight to Toba Inlet Waterfalls July 18th, Von Donop Mothership Kayaking July 23rd, Low Tide Reef Exploration July 27th and Aug 24th, Desolation Sound Aug 9th, Round Maurelle Island August 14th, Cassel Lake Waterfall
2012 CIMAS Volunteers
We couldn’t do it without your help! If we missed your 2012 volunteer hours, please take a minute to let us know. Volunteer hours demonstrate community support and help us secure grant funding.