Supposedly haunted doll Mandy has been stored in the back gallery where another doll keeps her company until renovations are completed. (Elizabeth Hunter photo)

Supposedly haunted doll Mandy has been stored in the back gallery where another doll keeps her company until renovations are completed. (Elizabeth Hunter photo)

Museum eyes May reopening as renovations near completion

“We’re nearing the end of the project,” says museum manager

Popular attractions such as the saddle of legendary packer Cataline or the supposedly haunted doll Mandy will soon be back on display for all to see.

After being closed for more than a year, the Quesnel & District Museum and Archives is set to reopen to visitors as soon as next month.

A $1.4 million renovation project to the museum and visitor centre located on Carson Avenue is nearing completion after Quesnel City Council agreed to keep the museum closed for the remainder of 2020 in order to facilitate renovations. They entered into a month to month agreement with the Billy Barker Days Society to use their office as a temporary visitor centre.

The museum had already closed in mid-March due to COVID-19, when a pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization.

“We obviously lost the revenue of the gift shop and the tourist season, but admissions never cover the operating expenses of the museum,” museum and heritage manager Elizabeth Hunter said, adding provincial and federal grants have likely offset those losses.

We are getting excited as our move in date approaches. Here is a sneak peek at what the refurbished Vistitor Centre and Museum reception area will look like!

Posted by Quesnel & District Museum and Archives on Thursday, April 1, 2021

“If it went on indefinitely, it would be challenging, but I feel we made the best use of this time by doing renovations now.”

Built in 1963, Hunter said the museum, which averages 5,000 visitors a year, has not had a notable face lift since at least 1986, when the back gallery was constructed.

A temporary office for museum staff was installed at city hall during the renovations. Artifacts were moved last summer from the front of the building to the back for storage.

The renovation project focused on addressing deficiencies of the nearly six-decade-old building and improving accessibility for the public, and between the space which the museum shares with the visitor centre.

“From the public’s point of view, it will be a really refreshed visitor centre gift shop entrance with clear signage,” Hunter said.

“The other thing that we worked on a lot this past winter was the museum webpage that launched at the beginning of March.”

The updated website includes a face lift to The Quesnel Cariboo Observer archives. Newspapers from 1908 until recently are available online through the research page on quesnelmuseum.ca.

READ MORE: Quesnel Museum to remain closed in 2020 to accommodate renovation



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Exterior improvements will include a covered walkway and the installation of gutters and drainage. (Elizabeth Hunter photo)

Exterior improvements will include a covered walkway and the installation of gutters and drainage. (Elizabeth Hunter photo)

A new entry vestibule will be among the improvements made to Quesnel & District Museum and Archives which shares its space with the Visitor Centre. (Elizabeth Hunter photo)
A new entry vestibule will be among the improvements made to Quesnel & District Museum and Archives which shares its space with the Visitor Centre. (Elizabeth Hunter photo)

A new entry vestibule will be among the improvements made to Quesnel & District Museum and Archives which shares its space with the Visitor Centre. (Elizabeth Hunter photo) A new entry vestibule will be among the improvements made to Quesnel & District Museum and Archives which shares its space with the Visitor Centre. (Elizabeth Hunter photo)

Artifacts, as well as contents of offices and work rooms, are currently stored in the exhibit gallery. (Elizabeth Hunter photo)