Investing in History

A province-wide endowment fund invites Nova Scotians to help preserve their heritage.

Written by Moriah Campbell

May 10, 2017

The Association of Nova Scotia Museums is taking steps to preserve the cultural history of “Canada’s Atlantic playground” by establishing MuseFund: an endowment to support museums across the province.

Executive director of the ANSM, Anita Price said museums play a significant role in Canadian society but funding is steadily decreasing.

“There’s a certain perception from Canadians that their tax dollars are doing the job of maintaining, supporting, and growing their museums,” said Price, “but that’s not always the case.

The endowment fund that was launched in mid-February looks to Nova Scotians for help to reach its first goal of $2.5 million over the next five years. Price said she hopes Musefund will connect the people of the province to its preservation.

“We really see the fund as building a relationship between Nova Scotians and their museums,” said Price.

Once the fund reaches $1 million, museums will be able to apply for funding from four different streams: engagement, stewardship, investment and growth. However, museums that want to draw from the fund must first seek accreditation by the ANSM.

“We feel museums need to be accountable public institutions,” said Price, “so it’s important to us that if we are asking the public for contributions towards the fund, we can be accountable that they have gone to strong organizations.”

Sixty-seven community museums across the province are going through the accreditation process.

Allison Burnett, curator of Shelburne County Museum, said the fund will be a boon for museums in the province.

“This type of work used to be funded much more thoroughly by the government and over the last few years that has decreased,” said Burnett, “It’s nice to have an option for one overall fund that will cover heritage work in this province.”

Nadine Gates, curator of the Yarmouth County Museum, explained that preservation supplies like acid free tissue, and costume boxes are hard to afford with their current budget.

“When you've only got a very limited amount of money to be able to spend on conservation needs, it doesn’t take very long to chew through it,” said Gates.

While museums across Nova Scotia are gladly welcoming the extra funding, executive director of The Historic Acadian Village of Nova Scotia, Roger d’Entremont feels Musefund is necessary. 

“The future of Nova Scotia museums may reside in the success of Musefund,”said d’Entramont.

The ANSM is now in the process of evaluating the twenty-eight provincial government sites across Nova Scotia for accreditation. Donations are now being accepted online at https://musefund.ca or by mail at 1113 Marginal Road, Halifax, NS  B3H 4P7.

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