Cain stepping down as museum curator

Duane Hicks

After 26 years at the Fort Frances Museum, Pam Cain is retiring from the position of curator to become executive director of the Community Art and Heritage Education Project in Thunder Bay.
“It gives me the opportunity to do something different at this stage,” said Cain, who starts her new job Jan. 1.
“[CAHEP] is active in working with artists, and doing arts and heritage projects in the schools and for the community in Thunder Bay,” she explained, noting a recent CAHEP project here is the ongoing “What Hooks You Here?” rug-hooking project.
“The position came up and it was an opportunity to do something which I love to do,” added Cain.
“My job here has come full circle because when I started, we were renovating the [lookout] tower and Hallett to be open to the public.
“In the past 26 years, things have come full circle.
“When you start doing what you originally started doing, maybe it’s time to move on,” she chuckled, though adding on a more serious note that working with CAHEP is a great opportunity.
She also said opting to retire as curator was “not an easy decision to make.”
Cain started working for the town as a summer student when she was 16, first working at the swimming pool and then the day care centre.
In 1984, after Cain had just earned her Fine Arts degree from the University of Manitoba, a job as assistant curator came up at the local museum and she got it.
“I thought I would give it a try, spend maybe a year doing this museum thing . . . and here we are 26 years later,” she remarked.
In her time as curator, Cain said some of the highlights have been in the past eight years, including the planning and execution of the town’s centennial celebrations in 2003.
She also cited the Heritage Tourism Project, which included the museum renovations in 2006-07 and the waterfront development, along with the relocation and refurbishing of the Hallett and lookout tower last year.
“It’s nice to kind of leave everything . . . in really good shape and all renovated,” she reasoned.
Although she will be travelling to Thunder Bay for her new job, Cain said she and local MP John Rafferty will continue to live in Fort Frances.
“We still have a home in Fort Frances, and we’ll still be members of this community, too, that’s for sure,” she pledged.
“We’re not packing up all our bags and leaving.”
While her new job begins in January, Cain said she likely will continue to work with the museum over the next few months to tie up any loose ends and help with the transition of any possible replacement.
Council is expected to receive official notice of Cain’s resignation at Monday night’s council meeting, at which time they’ll give administration direction as to what next steps will be.