Museum hoping to mark anniversary with new roof

Andrew Wagstaff
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Online auction serving as latest Age of Sail fundraiser

WARD’S BROOK – The Age of Sail heritage museum will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year. Unfortunately, so will its roof.
In fact, the roof of the shipbuilding museum predates its opening by about two years, according to curator/manager Oralee O’Byrne, who is hoping a new fundraising project this month will help them along the way to replacing the aging shingles.

Age of Sail heritage museum curator/manager Oralee O’Byrne is hoping an online auction will be successful in raising funds to help replace the roof of the museum, which marks its 20th anniversary this year. 

“Depending on which way the wind blows and the rain comes in, sometimes we get five or six leaks, sometimes we get no leaks,” she said. “Rafes (Construction) has maintained it as well as possible for us, but you can only get so much out of a roof before it’s time to replace it.”

Being a large roof, the museum society is looking at a large expense to replace it, to the tune of $16,000.

For fundraising, O’Byrne said they decided to try focusing their efforts online.

“Every year we’ve done a merchant’s basket, which all the merchants donated something for, and we would go and try to sell tickets,” she said. “Sometimes we would make $400-500, sometimes we wouldn’t. This year, we thought we would try something a little different.”

Seeing the success that other local causes such as the Advocate school sports program, they decided to go ahead with an online auction.

During the month of February, visitors to the museum’s Facebook event page have the opportunity to place bids on a variety of prizes, ranging from mugs and T-shirts to handmade quilt, to a print by artist Arlene Collins. Bids will close on March 1, with the highest bids winning the prizes.

The museum plans to apply in March for a government grant to aid in the roof project, but O’Byrne expects at least $5,000 will have to be raised by local volunteers. She is hopeful that the online auction will cover at least half of that ground, and said response has so far been very positive.

Plans to celebrate the museum’s anniversary are also coming into place, according to O’Byrne, who said people can mark the first weekend in August on their calendars for an event that will feature musical entertainment and more.

The museum is also planning to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, and the 75th anniversary of the start of the Second World War by holding an “Armed Forces Day” during the first weekend in June, which will see a free luncheon for any past or present armed forces members.

Twitter: @ADNandrew

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