Kaatza Museum closing until January

The Kaatza Station Museum and Archives is preparing to go into hibernation for a few weeks, giving its band of

The Kaatza Station Museum and Archives is preparing to go into hibernation for a few weeks, giving its band of hardworking volunteers a well deserved rest for the holidays.

The museum will be closed from Dec. 16 until Feb. 6, 2017. However, it will open Thursdays (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) beginning Jan. 12, 2017.

Pat Foster, president of the Kaatza Historical Society, said 2016 has been an eventful year. One of their biggest highlights: getting all the necessary permits to begin building an addition to the station that will house the IWA photo collection.

“It was a long process,” said Foster. “So now we can proceed with the addition when the weather gets better. That was our big project this year.”

The contractors require a week of dry weather before they can break ground on the new section of the building. In a press release, the group announced it still requires additional funding to cover the cost of a Geotech survey. The society will provide a tax deductible receipt for any donations received.

“Our total cash in the bank is $46,066.15. To build the addition to the lock-up stage would take approximately $50,000,” the statement reads. “The Cowichan Lake Community Forest Co-operative has committed another $15,000 once the addition is built to the lock-up stage for finishing the interior and the Steelworkers have committed another $7,500 to the addition and the IWA Collection also when the addition is at the lock-up stage.”

The society is also applying for grants that would allow them to hire a curator who can help sort through and catalogue the IWA photo collection in the new year. The museum currently does not have a curator and has been operating five days a week with the help of volunteers.

“They’re fantastic,” said Foster, who encourages any members of the public interested in volunteering to contact the museum. Volunteers are not only needed to staff the museum during the week, but also to help devise new displays and assist with the initial sorting of IWA photographs. There are more than 300 boxes in the collection that need to be sorted.

“We’re not cataloguing anything in the collection, but what we’re doing is going through it and taking out rusty staples, that kind of stuff, because it was in a damp situation, some of it, when it was stored in Duncan in a basement,” said Foster.

Foster said she hopes the community will continue to support the Kaatza Station Museum and Archives.

“It’s very important because it reflects the history of all the communities around the lake,” she said. “We treasure our museum and we really hope that some volunteers can come forward and work with us.”