PARRY SOUND - Management at the Parry Sound District Museum is changing hands amid challenging financial times.
Since March 2009, manager Darcy Yanni has been coordinating events and planning exhibits at the museum, such as The War of 1812 traveling display from the Archives of Ontario.
“I’ve really enjoyed working on projects regarding the Algonquin Regiment,” Yanni said of his favorite exhibition.
Operating the museum is a continuous gambit of dollars and cents, he explains.
About $64,000 in municipal funding is allocated to the museum each year from Parry Sound, the Municipality of McDougall, Seguin Township, Carling Township and the Township of the Archipelago, but Yanni says that number has declined.
Admissions, which make up a big part of the operating costs, have remained the same since last year, but are part of a downward trend also.
Financial constraints are common at the museum on Tower Hill, where a governing board of directors is constantly looking to acquire grants from various levels of government.
“A lot of the grants out there where we can apply for 80 per cent of a project, we have a hard time coming up with our own 20 per cent,” said chair Dan McCauley, also a councillor in Parry Sound. “Whenever we can access any type of a grant that’s out there, we try our hardest.”
Recently, the museum acquired a $30,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation - a government agency that distributes money to charities and non-profit organizations to build stronger communities - to replace roof shingles and purchase new display cases.
Last month, however, the museum appealed to surrounding municipalities for an advance of financial support while awaiting the delivery of the Community Museum Operation Grant (CMOG) from the Ontario Ministry of Culture.
Although the CMOG grant was later received, for a brief interim, the museum came close to exhausting their line of credit.
“We run a pretty small budget because we have so little operating money,” said McCauley.
“It’s a constant struggle.”
Additional revenue is generated each year by leasing out the museum to groups such as the Georgian Bay Biosphere and the Chess Club, all sources of additional revenue that Yanni helped coordinate.
“Darcy has been good at that, every manager has,” said McCauley.
In hiring a replacement, McCauley says people with curating experience, an educational background in history, or anybody who previously worked in a museum would make an ideal candidate.
Still, he says, scant funding poses a problem.
“We haven’t got a lot of money to pay somebody to be the manager, or the curator, of the museum,” he said. “We try to find somebody who can compliment all those different roles.”