We wish to acknowledge the toq qaymɩxʷ (Klahoose), ɬəʔamɛn qaymɩxʷ (Tla’amin) and ʔop qaymɩxʷ (Homalco) Nations upon whose territories the programs and activities of the Cortes Island Museum & Archives take place.

Reflect, Imagine, Celebrate are words that capture the essence of the Cortes Island Museum & Archives Society (CIMAS). In reflecting on 2019, CIMAS experienced a year of significant change encouraging us to evaluate past practices, to imagine moving forward as an organization that embodies openness and inclusivity, and to celebrate everyone who has made our many accomplishments possible.

Board of Directors 2019

President: Lynne Jordan (resigned December/2019)
Acting President: Bonnie MacDonald
Vice President: Nancy Kendel
Treasurer: Nora Disney
Secretary: Donna Collins
Directors: Laurel Bohart, Ian Disney, Rose Hanson, Donna McLaren, Donna Manson, Jill Milton, Connie Brill, Debbie Dragseth (appointed December/2019), Carly Mersereau (resigned November/2019)

Staff 2019

Managing Director/Curator: Jane Newman
Director of Public Programming: Brittany Baxter
Administration, Exhibit Host, Website: Gina Trzesicka
Summer Host/Interpreter: Quinn Berman-Hatch


Our main gallery featured two exhibits: Curiouser & Curiouser and That Was Then / This Is Now: A 20 Year Retrospective. In curating these exhibits we reflected generally on how museums came into being and specifically on our own practices – their appropriateness and effectiveness. One emerging learning point for CIMAS has been the need to change how we connect and engage with the First Nations whose territories include Cortes Island, and specifically with the Klahoose First Nation. As an initial step, we met with and invited the Director of Culture and Heritage of the Klahoose First Nation, Jodi Simkin, to speak at our 2019 AGM. Additionally, Rose and Brenda Hanson opened the Welcome Gate dedication ceremony with drumming and shared a song in their language with audience participation. This engagement process is ongoing. As part of our reflective process, we also invited input from the community and our audience and members by facilitating focus groups and circulating island-wide surveys and exhibit evaluation questionnaires. One response to the received feedback was to create a more open and inviting entry through the installation of the new Welcome Gate. It is dedicated to Joe and Lynne Jordan for their 18 years of volunteer work.

We are an organization that has demonstrated we’re willing to listen, take risks and strive for excellence in all that we do.

Our generous funders include:

Reflections on 2019


A continuing priority for the Cortes Museum was the implementation of a succession plan focusing on the recruitment of staff, board members and volunteers. During this fiscal year, Lynne Jordan, our president for 16 years, resigned and relocated off island. Also, the position of the Director of Public Programming (DoPP) finished at the end of the year with the completion of the BC Arts Council Enhanced Capacity grant. During the year the Board sought alternative funding for the continuation of the Public Programming position and is considering another model of program delivery in 2020. Funding for staffing and recruitment of volunteers to support the Wild Cortes Exhibit continued to be a focus.  The streamlining of administrative practices for clarity and simplicity advanced through the development of various forms and procedures.


The workload of the CIMAS Board of Directors is reduced through the employment of a permanent part-time Managing Director/Curator (MD/C), Jane Newman, and the DoPP position held by Brittany Baxter (ended in 2019). Gina Trzesicka provides administrative assistance and website management. The summer host provides exhibit interpretation, tourist information, and help in the store for guests and patrons.


CIMAS generates income through memberships, donations, the Museum Shop and Misty Isles Cruises. This year, the new owners of Misty Isles Adventures took over registration and receipt of payments for all co-sponsored historical cruises. There were 59 participants and CIMAS received a lump sum payment at the end of the season. A raffle was held for Diane Elliott’s Canada Botanica quilt. Plans for 2020 Creative Spaces tour were initiated.


  • Employment & Social Development Canada – a portion of the summer host wages
  • Library & Archives Canada – arranging backlog of donated archival material
  • BC Gaming – support for Public Education and Archives programs
  • BC Arts Council Operating Assistance – Managing Director/Curator wages
  • BC Arts Council Enhanced Capacity – Director of Public Programming wages
  • Strathcona Regional District – Grant-in-Aid – a portion of the Wild Cortes rent
  • Tides Canada – recognizing volunteer support of the Twin Islands book launch
  • BC Museum Association Family Day Grant


  • CIMAS – Board Orientation
  • CIMAS – Staff Training & Mentoring
  • AABC – Staff Training – Archival Photos
  • AABC – Board and Staff Training – Archives 101 for Indigenous Organizations
  • BCMA – Staff Training – Object-Based Learning




114 volunteers donated 4809 hours!


CIMAS, as the official Tourist/Visitor Information Booth for Cortes Island, provides pamphlets, maps and local information. This service benefits CIMAS by attracting people to also explore our Archives, Exhibition Gallery and Museum Shop.


Main Gallery: Great Blue Heron Comes to School project and exhibit was followed by Curiouser & Curiouser and That Was Then / This Is Now. These two exhibits fit well together, the first looking back at how museums came to be and the second reflecting back at some of the exhibits CIMAS has produced since 1998. These exhibits will be further developed in 2020.

Hollyhock Learning Centre Mini-Exhibit: The History of Self Care on Cortes.

Wild Cortes: The natural history satellite exhibit, housed at the Linnaea Education Centre, is financially supported by CIMAS with programming support from 5 organizations (CIMAS, Linnaea Farm Society, Friends of Cortes Island, Children’s Forest Trust, and Discovery Islands Eco-mapping Project) who collaborate as an organization known as Cortes Wild!.

New in 2019 was the installation of the EcoLab featuring donated stereoscopes and slides used to augment community engagement activities.

MAIN GALLERY: (Visitors – 2971)

Curiouser & Curiouser – C. Gronau

That Was Then / This Is Now – CIMAS

Herons Come to School FOCI/CIMAS

MINI EXHIBIT: (Visitors – 300)

The History of Self Care – Hollyhock Learning Centre

POP-UP EXHIBITS: (Visitors – 3900)

Located at Seafest, Cortes Day, Love Fest, eight Friday Markets and the Manson’s Christmas Craft Sale.


The Artifact Committee is continuing to process the many donations of artifacts received, ensuring that those added all fall within the collection mandate. Logging equipment and tools housed in the Loggers’ Workshop (formerly, von Donop Shed) have been spiffed up by George Lerchs, a welcome new member of the committee.


The Heritage Garden and the new Welcome Gate were popular with visitors, many enjoying a relaxing break or lunch at the picnic table under the apple trees. Art in the Garden events, with different craft and performance themes, were held in the summer months as part of programming to encourage residents and visitors to visit the Museum. A blog about the colourful and fragrant heritage lilies, a feature in the garden in early summer, was published on the Museum website in July.

Garden activities included a deep pruning of garden shrubs, pruning the apple trees, liming the trees, lawn and garden beds, and soil improvement. The garden was maintained this year by seven volunteers.


CIMAS had an excellent year of rich public programs and community outreach events designed and delivered by Brittany Baxter, DoPP, and coordinated with support from Laura Balducci.

Our Art in the Garden Summer Series returned in 2019, featuring local visual and performance artists.

A special achievement was the publishing of hɛkʷ čɛ θ tuwa? | Where Do You Come From? | Weaving our stories together, a book featuring squares created during the 2018 Community Quilt project (available in the Museum Shop).

A comprehensive list of CIMAS events is listed below. The two-year BC Arts Council Enhanced Capacity Grant, which funded the DoPP position, ended December 2019.


  • 7 presentations – 368
  • 8 Art in the Garden Summer Series presenters (16 Artists) – 144
  • That Was Than / This Is Now Exhibit Opening & Welcome Gate Dedication – 94
  • 5 museum tours – 37
  • 8 nature tours – 77
  • 12 pop-up exhibits – 3900 (estimated audience attending functions)

CO-SPONSORED EVENTS: (Audience – 617)

  • Four Literary Afternoon events – 115 (Seniors Helping Seniors/CISS)
  • Christmas Bird Count – 31 (Bird Studies Canada)
  • Sixteen Deep Roots/Youth Voices – 288 (Klahoose, CKTZ Radio, Community/Radio Funds Canada)
  • Family Day Tree Dressing event – 30 (BC Museums Assoc.)
  • Wild Cortes EcoLab opening – 34 (Cortes Wild!)
  • Two Wild Cortes Exhibit tours – 20 (Cortes Wild!)
  • Oceans Day – 20 (Cortes Wild!)
  • Wild Cortes EcoLab Open House – 42 (Cortes Wild!)
  • Four Stitch-in-Public events – 37


There were 275 students visiting during the year.

CIMAS/CCHA – Adventures in Leadership Soundscape Project – 2 events, 15 participants

Surge Narrows School from Read Island – Main Gallery and Wild Cortes – 20 participants

CIMAS/Children’s Forest Trust continue their partnership of the Wild Cortes exhibit and EcoLab, using the exhibit to inspire nature walks and teaching creative expression sessions. Three programmes and one guided tour – 53 participants

Wild Cortes/FOCI – seven events for Forage Fish Lab ID took place in the fall in the EcoLab at Wild Cortes – 30 participants

CIMAS/Cortes Island School

  • Curiouser & Curiouser exhibit – senior class gallery visit for a discussion and scavenger hunt – 19 participants
  • Great Blue Herons Take Flight – 40 students, 3 teachers
  • Sketching and Discussion with Monica Nawrocki – 18 students, 2 teachers
  • FaunaVerse – Visiting biologist’s presentation of slides & poetry depicting the natural history of Australian animals – 50 students, 4 teachers

Campbell River High School – Main Gallery and Wild Cortes – 2 visits, 21 participants


Online Presence Committee established to analyze Museum’s Facebook page and our website and to make recommendations for improvements.

Website (5750 users with 7956 sessions) updates include:  

  • 5 history/nature blogs
  • 5 outreach events blogs
  • new “Butterfly Sightings” page
  • Museum survey (42 returned surveys)
  • digitized and published 3 History Albums
  • new items added to the online store
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization) free plugin was added to our website

Facebook (366 followers)

MemoryBC – a description of all CIMAS archival holdings is available on this provincial website hosted by the Archives Association of British Columbia


ARCHIVES PROGRAM: In March of 2019, funded by a grant from Library & Archives Canada, we completed the processing of our archival backlog. Since then, we have received and processed ten new accessions, including records from Jenny Hiebert’s term as Regional Director, historic photographs dating from 1928 to 1972, and the diaries of Jimmy Layton. Jimmy Layton lived at von Donop Inlet from the 1940s to 1973, and the short daily entries provide a fascinating peek into island life back then. We processed 29 requests for research using the archives and public information file; a 16 percent increase from 2018.

ARCHIVISTS: Jill Milton, Donna McLaren, Valerie Wernet


Imagine that our organization has the human and financial capacity balanced with both the growth and change needed to fully realize our potential. To achieve this, CIMAS envisions the continued integration of community feedback received in 2019, specifically: to improve and expand offerings regarding First Nation history with curatorial leadership from the Klahoose First Nation; and to expand access to include people who aren’t already involved in the Museum. In embracing these two suggestions we are more open to telling all aspects of Cortes Island history and reflect a more inclusive and diverse perspective.

In 2020 the space currently housing the Curiouser & Curiouser exhibit will available for a new installation. Inspired individuals or organizations are invited to collaborate with CIMAS to produce a new exhibit. CIMAS will provide curatorial support for the proposed project and, if necessary, seek funding and help produce this exhibit. Additionally, we invite programming proposals from interested individuals. Through these invitations, we hope to bring more diversity to our organization and to the design and implementation of our programs.

Some ideas that CIMAS is considering for 2020 and beyond include:

  • explore new programming model and funding
  • explore summer staffing and volunteer opportunities for Wild Cortes
  • explore hosting travelling exhibit
  • process artifact accessions using the new collection management software
  • receive training in the preservation of digital records
  • develop digitization standards and guidelines
  • digitize our photograph collection for improved access
  • digitize archival records
  • consider redesign of website
  • repair Heritage Garden fencing


We have reason to celebrate! We celebrate our dedicated members, our hardworking volunteers, our supportive staff, our inquisitive visitors, and the vibrant Cortes community. We celebrate our organization’s courage and resilience to explore and dream a more inclusive future. We celebrate a year full of programs, exhibits, and events that gather us together in wonder and joy!

In 2019, 114 volunteers generously spent 4809 volunteer hours contributing their energy and time to various aspects of our fundraising, programs, and operations. Thank you!

“A real tribute to the history of Cortes.”  — from the Museum’s Guest Book

“Extremely well-done displays, glad to see First Nations inclusion & respect.” from the Museum’s Guest Book

“I love learning more about the place I call home.” — from the Museum’s Survey

“Interesting exhibits, good events and helpful information.” from the Museum’s Survey

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