Kings County Museum a community jewel

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Editorial from The Advertiser

We were glad to see such a large and enthusiastic crowd out for Wednesday’s Stadacona Band concert and silent auction fundraiser for the Kings County Museum.

Likely many in attendance were there to hear the band, which always puts on a great show, but we’d like to think a lot were there because of the museum, an often-underappreciated community jewel that can’t continue to survive without our support.

The museum, the public arm of the Kings Historical Society, almost ceased to be a part of the local community a few years ago when it was forced to close due to a lack of funding.

Luckily, the closure proved temporary - only for the winter months - but has started a trend that has seen the museum closed for the past three winters, reopening in the spring.

The financial crisis that precipitated the original closure, and the resulting publicity surrounding it, accomplished two things, both of which are likely to be beneficial in the long run, for the museum and the community it serves.

First, it raised awareness that entities like museums – and especially ones housed in large older structures – can’t function for long, if at all, without sufficient operating capital.

And with governments at all levels seeming to place arts and culture increasingly lower on their list of priorities, community support becomes all that more crucial.

To the community’s credit, it has rallied around the museum to the point where it appears to at least have its finances under control – though the reality is it’s almost always touch-and-go – and hopefully, one of these years, can once again be open year-round.

The second benefit was the realization by the museum’s owners and operators, the KHS, and staff that in order to attract more people to their facility, exhibits needed to be consistently interesting and, where possible, rotated at regular intervals.

It is to the credit of the current museum board - full-time staffers curator Bria Stokesbury and Cathy Margeson and many active and tireless volunteers (including current KHS president Maynard Stevens) - that the museum is a really happening place these days.

This year alone the facility has housed a number of interesting and topical exhibits,

celebrating such things as the 40th anniversary of the Village of New Minas and the 60th anniversary of the arrival of Dutch settlers to our area following World War II.

The society always has entertaining programs at its monthly meetings and the museum’s genealogy and community history section is well used, both by local family historians and those further afield.

The museum administration and staff appear to be doing their part – not only ‘talking the talk’ but ‘walking the walk’ – to fulfill the museum’s role in the community to the best of their ability. It behooves us all, if we want to see our museum continue as a viable entity for all to enjoy, to do our part as well.

Organizations: Kings County Museum, Kings Historical Society

Geographic location: Village of New Minas

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