Stettler Town and Country Museum ended 2015 on a new high as one of its biggest annual fundraisers ‘Light the Night’ drew huge crowds from the community and neighbouring areas, over the eight four-hour evenings in December.
“During the event the museum grounds are lit for the public to drive through or walk manned by museum staff welcoming visitors with a pamphlet of the many sponsors and displays, a candy cane and an Independent Activity Book for the kids,” said Karen Wahlund, museum manager. “There were 45 sponsors in all, which included local businesses, organizations and community members, as volunteers assisted staff to create additional displays throughout the museum grounds and run a network of electrical devices.”
According to Wahlund, Friday, Dec. 4 was the opening night with a bake sale, horse-drawn wagon rides, besides the lit exhibits, with Atco’s help with the high out-of-reach areas.
As 538 vehicles passed through the grounds, and the museum collected cash donations close to $4,000, besides 13 filled bags along with cash for the Food Bank, it was easy to see why this event was such a “grand success”.
“The museum hosts this event every year to become more involved with the community,” said Wahlund. “In hopes of attracting outlying areas to Stettler.”
With the fundraising throughout the year, the museum has been able to achieve some of its goals in 2015 and looks forward to completing more projects in the new year.
“The facility has improved its appearance and we look forward to completing our goal of making Stettler Town and Country Museum a safe, great looking facility to entertain the community and tourists while preserving and cherishing our history,” said Wahlund. “The museum requires financial assistance not only for the repairs and maintenance but to continue to support its staff.”
At the moment the museum is run with two part-time staff, a manager and an associate curator.
Even with annual funds from the town and county, the museum falls short of its financial targets, which necessitates successful fundraisers.
“In 2016, we have been promised the generous funding of the town and county, which always projects an increment from the previous year, and enables us to continue making improvements where needed and progress with new events,” said Wahlund.
For 2016, three summer staff will be financed in part by two programs – Young Canada Works and Canada Summer Jobs, both of which are federal programs.
This year the summer temporary employment program will be reintroduced, which gives the museum the hope of receiving enough funding to recruit three summer staff.
All programs require students coming out of school and returning to school in the fall. “Our work term is first part of May to mid-August, hence a post-secondary student is suitable,” explained Wahlund. ” We are always looking for interested students.”