Grant used to develop a new home for museum 

American Friends of Whistler donate $20,000

click to enlarge FILE PHOTO - PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE Fundraising is underway to construct a permanent home for the Whistler Museum.
  • FILE photo
  • PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE Fundraising is underway to construct a permanent home for the Whistler Museum.

The dreams for a permanent facility for the Whistler Museum are back on the table after being temporarily shelved for a few years.

The American Friends of Whistler, a charitable organization that has given out $1.1 million in grants in Whistler since it was founded, has given a $20,000 grant to the Whistler Museum this year.

The money will go towards the development of a conceptual design for a permanent museum facility at its current location beside the library.

"A lot of it is going to be based on examining the requirements and the restrictions on what can be built on a particular piece of property," museum president John Hetherington said. "The whole idea is we would like to build a new museum and this is the initial examination of what could be possible on the existing property."

The museum is operating out of four old trailers on municipal land in the centre of the village.

"We feel that the museum space now is too small for everything that the museum does," Hetherington added.

In addition, there are some mechanical problems with the old trailers and he estimates that they are coming to the end of their lifespan.

"Who knows?" Hetherington said of how much longer the trailers will last. "But they're not getting any younger — and they've been around, and they've been used for a long time."

Hetherington said they've done a rough inventory of land and there aren't many pieces that are suitable. That's why they're looking at the current location.

The grant money will go towards coming up with a basic building envelope on that piece of property.

"The $20,000 may go further than that; that's the initial stage," Hetherington said.

He estimates it will be a five-year process. It started about a year ago.

The museum was closed for several years from 2006-2009, but Hetherington said it is now coming into its own.

"I think the museum has proved itself," said Hetherington.

"People like the exhibits. There are a lot of outreach programs. There are a lot of programs going on there. I think the museum has become an integral part of the community and I think it's time that we move out of the rather temporary situation that the museum is in now and find a more suitable permanent home."

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