Plans to expand the Shawnigan Lake Museum have gotten a boost with a $250,000 contribution from the Island Coastal Economic Trust.
ICET’s funding for the estimated $1,827,000 expansion project comes from its Economic Infrastructure and Innovation Program.
The museum is expanding to provide much needed space to display the facility’s unique collections, develop new exhibits as well as attract new events.
“This project builds on Shawnigan Lake’s recognition as a regional recreation destination and will help diversify and broaden its reputation as a cultural and heritage draw,” said ICET Chairman Aaron Stone.
“Prioritizing tourism funding to address gap and growth areas is essential to our work, especially now, and the museum’s expansion has the potential to become a significant attraction for the region.”
The Shawnigan Lake Historical Society is leading the project to triple the museum’s floor plan.
The expansion will create a new exhibit area showcasing the museum’s entire collection of original E.J. Hughes drawings, as well as new E.J. Hughes acquisitions.
The expansion will also facilitate an improved visitor experience and a more comprehensive display of the popular Kinsol Trestle exhibit, including more archival records, construction photos and improvements to the Kinsol Trestle model.
A new Cowichan Tribes exhibit, in collaboration with Cowichan Tribes, is also being developed.
“The museum is a gateway to visitors in the south Cowichan region and plays a role in promoting the tourism assets in the south Cowichan area,” said the museum’s executive director Lori Treloar.
“This project will not only allow for an improved visitor experience, but will also provide catalysts for new business development in the area, cultural programming for children and youth and cultural benefits through community activities and safe gathering spaces.”
In addition to developing the display and exhibition areas, several other spaces at the museum are planned to be created or enlarged.
A larger gift shop will provide opportunities for local artists and artisans to have their projects displayed and purchased.
A multi-purpose room, known as the Great Room, will be built to accommodate events, traveling collections, group visits and rental space accommodating up to 100 people.
A 500-square-foot archives and research space and a 200 square foot public Community Living Room will be developed, and a new, open and spacious lobby, with a reception area and public washrooms, will also be created.