Museum seeking gently-used items for silent auction

Duane Hicks

Framed paintings, decorative vases, antique lamps, and other gently-used art.
If you don’t want it, the Fort Frances Museum could use it for its “Keep It Hanging Around” fundraiser coming up next month.
The silent auction fundraiser, which will run through to the end of October, will raise money to refurbish the vintage vessel, the “Owandem.”
Of course, an auction needs items–and that’s where the public can help.
“We’d like people to bring us their gently-used decorative items,” museum curator Sherry George told the Times.
“They could be anything from knick-knacks to paintings, lamps, candlesticks–those types of things.
“Basically, if you’re downsizing or you’ve just changed your colour scheme or whatever, and you have things you will not be using anymore and you’d like to donate it to this cause, it helps us to fundraise without people having to actually contribute financially,” she noted.
You can bring your gently-used art to the museum starting now and continue to do so through October (the museum’s hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.)
Then all next month, the entire main floor of the museum will be dedicated to the “Keep It Hanging Around” silent auction.
The items will be put on display, with the public encouraged to drop in, look around, and place bids on bid sheets.
Then starting on Oct. 10, the bid sheets will be collected each Tuesday, so people can drop by often to check on their bids.
Another round of items then will be up for bid until the following Tuesday, which will continue through Oct. 31.
A few select items will be up for bid for the entire month of October. These will be extra-special items, such as a limited edition Ducks Unlimited carved mallard that George said already has been donated.
The Dryden museum did a similar fundraiser in the past and made $12,000.
“I don’t know if we’ll be so fortunate, but I am really hoping that people will be generous,” George remarked.
“We all have things lying around the house and it’s like, ‘Okay, it’s time to get rid of this. I’m tried of dusting it,'” she reasoned.
“They’re in good shape, there’s nothing wrong with the thing, it’s been sitting on the coffee table for a while,” George added.
“But sometimes we just want to change things up,” she noted, stressing the silent auction is not “a garage sale.”
The cost to refurbish the “Owandem” is estimated to be $25,000–not a small sum.
But George said fundraising already is off to a good start, noting about $4,300 has been donated so far.
Shane Armstrong also has offered to donate his time, staff, and crane to move the boat from the Public Works yard to Mark Faragher’s shop in Devlin for refurbishing once enough money has been raised, she added.
There also are “Owandem” collection boxes out in the community for people to drop their spare change into.
George conceded some people can’t afford to directly donate cash to the cause, but they can support it indirectly by donating a decorative item another person will then bid on and pay for.
Looking ahead, the “Owandem” campaign will get a further boost in November.
The “Friends of the Museum” has agreed to donate the proceeds from its annual fall gala this year to the refurbishing of the small tug.
The gala tentatively is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 2, with more details expected in the near future.
Any questions? Call 274-7891 or e-mail sgeorge@fortfrances.ca

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