With both arms extended, Paul Ferguson twirled around the expansive, new 4,000 square foot Chilliwack Archives addition.
“Look at this wonderful open space,” the curator exclaimed.
On Friday afternoon, the room was empty, shelving had not yet been installed and the collection is still months away from being brought back into the Evergreen Hall facility, but you couldn’t really blame Ferguson for his excitement.
Chilliwack Archives, a research and storage facility, has been over capacity for 10 years, squished into a 2,500 square foot space that was more like 1,500 square feet when you factored in the office, lunch room, and furniture. Several pieces in the collection had to be stored off-site because of limited space, and some artifacts had to be declined also because of limited space.
Last July the City of Chilliwack committed to a 4,000 square foot addition, worth $430,000, that is set to be complete later this month.
But with the new addition, comes a whole new set of costs.
Rolling shelving units, shelf-lining foam, map cabinets, pallet shelving, acid-free storage boxes, acid-free tissue, newspaper storage boxes, a new, digital microfilm reader are all on the expenses list.
Chilliwack Museum and Archives hopes to raise $250,000 for the facility; so far, $104,000 has been raised.
“This is a magnificent jewel in our community that belongs to the people of Chilliwack,” said Ferguson. “We’ve got 10,000 years of human history here, Chilliwack specific material.”
And the ongoing fundraiser is all about preserving that material.
In addition to the expansion, the existing space was also renovated, with walls taken out, to provide more office and research space for the community to seek out historical information and work on projects.
“It’s going to make our collection easier to access,” said Ferguson.
For more information or to donate, contact Chilliwack Museum and Archives at 604-795-9255 or visit the website www.chilliwackmuseum.ca.