Maple Ridge Museum shares space concerns and more with council

photo of Maple Ridge Museum
The museum is managed by the Maple Ridge Historical Society/Photo Supplied

During the Maple Ridge council workshop meeting, Maple Ridge Museum representative shared concerns about the deteriorating condition of the building on Tuesday.

The museum has been managed by Maple Ridge Historical Society for 50 years to preserve and protect history and community heritage, according to the website.

However, the presentation highlighted conditions of the building, limiting the museum’s ability to continue gathering and storing local history.

Read: Maple Ridge Museum brings unique exhibit to Malcolm Knapp Research Forest

Frequent temperature fluctuations are one of the main concerns at the museum, according to Shea Henry.

“We need a new museum space with humidity, climate and temperature control; all of the things a modern museum needs. The building is unsuitable to be a museum yet it continues to be one,” said Shea Henry.

She shared that the museum reached storage capacity in 2021 and has not been able to accept any new archival materials from residents.

“We can no longer collect Maple Ridge history and we have to say no 99 per cent of the time to people who want to donate,” she added.

The location of the museum is not accessible for some and unsuitable for parking therefore, Museum on The Move was launched a few years ago.

This pop-up style, free and accessible initiative has increased community interest and awareness of local history, said Henry.

The museum had 2,715 on-site visitors, and 47,650 off-site visitors reaching pre-pandemic levels, according to data from 2022.

Additionally, they collected 17,215 artifacts, 3,675 archive files and 19,250 photos last year.

But not all of these objects are safe.

An entire collection of photo negatives has the vinegar syndrome.

When stored in a warm and humid room, photo negatives begin to decompose, giving off an acidic smell resulting in vinegar syndrome.

Through the initiative, the hope is to strategically create awareness about “the plight of the archives and our building.”

The museum outgrew its storage space in 1997 and has been in front of council many times to request space expansion.

When asked how much space the museum requires, Henry answered that the museum needs approximately 14,000 sq ft. of space, excluding archival storage, similar to what North Vancouver has recently built.

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