The Clinton Museum and information centre is anticipated to reopen to visitors this summer.
Janice Maurice, the new president of the South Cariboo Historical Museum Society, said plans are in the works to open the doors as soon as they get the go-ahead from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. The museum typically opens May 1 but has been closed for the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The museum here is the heart of the town, whether you’re from here or not,” said Maurice, a self-proclaimed history buff. “It’s a cool spot and I think maybe through the pandemic we should get some extra benches out here and encourage people to have their lunch here or something.
“We have to do things a little bit differently for a while but we can still encourage people. Lots of people who live here have never been to the museum.”
Maurice, who has been a member of the society for a couple of years, said she would like to see more events held in the back yard behind the museum, or the old bar, such as music jams, or slideshows in honour of some of the area’s teachers. She added there are also people in the community like Rolly Higginbottom, who are researching old photos, and perhaps they could look at an armchair traveller series to share as part of the area’s history.
READ MORE: Clinton strikes a chord with Dustin Bentall
“There are things you can do on a small basis that are neat,” she said. “It doesn’t always have to be a big thing.”
Society vice-president Peter Brandle, who was also just elected last week, said he expects the museum could be open to four people at a time, with two inside and two in the back garden. The site is set up so that people can enter through the front door and exit through the gate, ensuring social distancing remains in place.
“It’s a workable situation and all you’ve got to do is get people to cooperate and in general people are cooperating,” he said, adding he ran to get on the board this year to do what he could to open the museum. There are 11 people on the board – including the president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer and about 66 members of the society.
Brandle noted the society took advantage of the shutdown last year to reconstruct the gun cabinet and the office and more work is ongoing to renovate the space. He said while visitor numbers vary, there was close to 5,000 summer visitors from May to October a few years ago.
Maurice said it’s important to keep the town’s history alive. “We all have to want this here because it’s a part of the town.”