Museum fundraiser a moderate success

While the amount raised still is being added up, with donations coming in all the time, curator Pam Hawley said the “Preserve the Past” fundraiser for the Fort Frances Museum’s renovation campaign held last Thursday through Saturday wasn’t quite as successful as hoped.
“We had a great response as far as attendance,” Hawley noted Monday. “We were pretty busy both Friday and Saturday, and people have been making donations.
“[But] we didn’t raise as much money as hoped,” she added.
However, Hawley still is calculating the figures not only from the art that was donated and put up for silent auction, but donations that those who didn’t end up buying anything made to the museum campaign.
She noted some of the 40-50 pieces of artwork that were donated by about a dozen local artists to the fundraiser exhibit for auction that were not bought up still are on display at the museum.
Anyone interested can just drop by during normal business hours (11 a.m.-4 p.m.)
“Preserve the Past” kicked off last Thursday evening with a wine and cheese mix-and-mingle, and continued through Friday and Saturday.
While Hawley still is adding up the fundraising totals, it’s safe to say the Fort Frances Museum fundraising committee has exceeded two-thirds of its fundraising goal of $130,000—with less than $50,000 left to raise.
“We’re inching up there,” said Hawley.
Significant pledges already have come in from partners such as the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce, local Business Improvement Association, and Abitibi-Consolidated.
The fundraising committee’s success so far has been a combination of large contributions from the aforementioned, as well as a mail-out campaign to residents and initiatives like “adopt-an-artifact.”
Under the latter, people can pick an artifact currently in the museum from a photo album, make a $20 donation, get a certificate saying you adopted that artifact, and have your name added into the album for others to see.
The fundraising committee, spearheaded by former mayor Glenn Witherspoon, has been working since the spring to raise funds to help renovate the museum.
The work, which is anticipated to start in January, will include an entrance to the south of the building, as well as a small addition there to alleviate receiving, crating, and shipping problems.
There also will be changes to the existing building to alleviate circulation and exhibition space problems. New heating, ventilation, air conditioning, safety, security, and electrical systems will be installed, as well.
The total cost is expected to be around $900,000.
The committee’s current fundraising goal is set at $130,000—$75,000 from the local community and $55,000 from partners such as the Chamber and BIA, which already have come on board.
The town has a dedicated reserve of $420,000 towards the project, with more funding to come from senior levels of government.

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