I would like to let each of you know that I will be leaving my position with the York-Sunbury Historical Society this month. I have thoroughly enjoyed working at the Fredericton Region Museum, and I appreciate having had the opportunity to work in such a meaningful way with our community. Thank you for the support and encouragement you have provided me over the last nine years.
The time I have spent immersed in the museum’s collection and sharing its stories has been glorious. There are so many aspects of the job that I have enjoyed including the summers spent with talented students, misdirected squirrels and terrorizing spiders! The frigid winter temperatures , the bats that came to visit …. power outages … floodwaters … so much water, so many memories!
I have had days when excited visitors dropped by the office at the end of their visit to tell me that they found their ancestor in our exhibit. One patron, just the other day found her grandmother! There were also times when visitors have been so moved by our displays that they have cried. Discovering your history can be a powerful experience.
Every gallery in the museum has been redone, some more than once, over a span of nine years’ worth of Exhibits Committees! For a small volunteer based museum, exhibit projects can be a big commitment. Nevertheless, we never shied away from the challenge. I have enjoyed working with many curators researching, writing, editing and selecting artefacts. Many hours were spent installing panels on walls that would not cooperate and trying to make things level in a building where everything is crooked. I pretty much gave up on making things level.
I have spent countless hours examining artefacts with volunteers, interns and students as we re-organized the storage rooms. The collection is wonderful and it has been an honour accepting artefacts on behalf of the society. Being entrusted with precious pieces of the past is a tremendous responsibility, which was not lost on me. To provide the best care possible, I have worked with the Collections Committee to overhaul the museum’s policies, procedures, health and safety as well as the emergency plan. The unfortunate members of the committee spent a great amount of time reviewing documents as we edited for several months, if not years!
A great deal of effort has been placed on ensuring that the museum is welcoming for our younger community members. The youth are the future and if we want the museum to be here 20, 30 and 100 years from now, we need to consider them in our planning. My daughter has been a tremendous help from the moment I started. She set up games and even ran a tearoom on the balcony for several years. Since then, we started a day camp program and now have interactives in every gallery. Some are simpler than others are because, frankly, interactives do not have to be complicated to be entertaining.
When I mention family, I should acknowledge the many members of my family who have assisted me. My husband has installed many exhibits, edited countless documents, designed exhibit components, helped develop programs and run more errands than I could count. My children, parents, siblings and extended family have all played a role in the many projects that I have undertaken. My mother passed away a few years ago but through her art and interest in history, she left a wonderful and enduring legacy at the museum.
Even though I will miss my colleagues, visitors, partners, the board, committees and the museum, I am looking forward to starting a new adventure and phase of my career.
Thanks again. It has been a pleasure working with you.