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Museum looking for long-term solutions to overcrowding

The Grande Prairie Museum is looking for ways to deal with storage issues. Between its collections and the South Peace Regional Archives, there is limited space to work and store records. What space there is often doesn’t have the proper environmental controls. Curator Charles Taws says they’ve simply run out of room.

“In the galleries it still looks okay, but back in the collections area where we store our artifacts the shelves are overstocked, a lot of stuff is piled on the floor. We have stuff in portable trailers and they’re piled in and it’s often very hard to get into items.”

In addition to the portables, there are two trailers attached to the building in Muskoseepi Park, but when there was flooding a few years ago, they shifted and items had to be moved when water got inside.

The museum hired a consultant to look at potential options for the next 10 years, and they included moving trailers, expanding the building, and building a warehouse. However, after speaking with members of city council, Taws says they’re going to embark on a master plan for the next quarter century.

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“Our money would be better spent to maybe look at a bigger plan that would cover the museum building as a whole, so it would include the exhibit galleries too. The exhibit galleries the way they are have been that way for, I think, just over a decade now, so it’s probably time to look at them.

In the meantime, they’ll work on short-term solutions like moveable shelving. The City approved $850,000 in its 2016 capital plan that Taws says will cover some immediate needs.

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