Trethewey House in Abbotsford

Trethewey House in Abbotsford

City kicks in $25,000 to store MSA Museum collection

Merger talks between museum and The Reach Gallery are still underway

The MSA Museum isn’t planning on getting rid of any of its artifacts, despite requiring a one-time contribution of $25,000 from the city to store and insure its collection as merger talks between the museum and The Reach Gallery Museum continue, executive director Kelly Railton said.

Heidi Enns, the city’s general manager of parks, recreation and culture, told a recent council meeting that ongoing talks to amalgamate the two groups stalled prior to the recent election of a new MSA Museum board.

The delay has made it difficult for the museum to secure grants and raise money, a report to council indicates, leading to the plea for financial assistance from the city.

The city has previously provided $75,000 annually to the museum, along with the use and upkeep of Trethewey House heritage site. While the city’s contribution is the museum’s largest revenue source, the now-expired agreement between it and the museum didn’t include the storing of materials.

This year, the museum expects to spend around $1,750 per month to cover storage, with insurance costing around $4,500 for the year.

A report to Abbotsford council says: “Despite the fact that there has been no conclusion to the discussions regarding the transfer and care of the artifacts between the MSA and The Reach, the two organizations are working together on collection management practices, and a process of deaccessioning the collection.”

But while “deaccession” often means disposing of a museum piece, Railton told The News that the museum – which isn’t accepting new pieces at this time – won’t be getting rid of any artifacts.

And while the city report said the society “has been collecting material without a collection policy,” Railton was adamant that was not the case. A collections policy has always existed, she said, adding, “We have a fully qualified collection manager who oversees that collection.”

Council unanimously approved the $25,000 in assistance to the museum. Citing the ongoing discussions, Coun. Sandy Blue said: “There’s a good chance this will be substantially reduced in future years.”

Last year, the museum’s society posted a deficit of $32,674.