Earlier this year, the Village of Ashcroft received a grant of $20,644 to upgrade the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system and improve emergency access at the Ashcroft Museum. On May 10, Jacquie Rasmussen—the northern constituency coordinator for MP Jati Sidhu (Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon)—travelled to Ashcroft for a tour of the museum and a look at the upgrades. Sidhu was not able to attend due to commitments in Ottawa.
The grant funding was through the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund program. Sidhu said in a statement that “I was delighted to hear that Ashcroft got this much-needed funding. It’s going to make a great difference to the museum and its guests for years to come.”
Museum curator Kathy Paulos agrees that the upgrades will make a difference in the building, and notes that the real test will come in July and August. “I can hardly wait until it’s hot to try it out,” she says. “I haven’t noticed much of a difference yet, but it’s early.” The installers will be returning to make sure the system is running properly when the really hot weather hits.
The museum has, in the past, had a handful of air conditioning units in the building; but with only one window available on the main floor, the units were of little help in moderating the heat. “They didn’t do much,” says Paulos. “They did help, and it would have been disastrous if we hadn’t had them, but they worked so hard sometimes they didn’t work. They’d stop.”
A set of crumbling stone steps outside an emergency access point at the rear of the building has been replaced with steps made of metal grating, which Paulos says will be much better and safer. “And we don’t even have to sweep.”
Paulos says that she is expecting a lot of visitors to the museum this summer, especially with the Canada 150 celebration. “Our numbers were up last year, and I’m expecting good crowds this year.”
One of those visitors might be Jati Sidhu. “Projects like this demonstrate this government’s commitment to both smaller communities and culture,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to my next trip to Ashcroft for a chance to see the museum’s collection for myself!”