HISTORY’S FUTURE - This mock-up shows what the future home of the Lacombe & District Historical Society could look like.

HISTORY’S FUTURE - This mock-up shows what the future home of the Lacombe & District Historical Society could look like.

Historical Society advances on path to new headquarters

The Lacombe & District Historical Society is moving through the process of building themselves a new home.

  • May. 8, 2014 11:00 a.m.

The Lacombe & District Historical Society is moving through the process of building themselves a new home.

Last year, the Society began the process of researching, fundraising and raising awareness for a new facility that would eventually serve as a permanent headquarters.

Such a facility is necessary for the Society as it currently rents out the space at the Flatiron Museum and is out of space both there and at the Michener House.

Jennifer Kirchner, president of Lacombe & District Historical Society said that the new facility will help the Society in its mandate to preserve history of Lacombe and the surrounding area.

She added this is especially important in a city like Lacombe where history is such a big part of its image.

“I know when I had the opportunity to move here, this is what people identified Lacombe with – the old buildings, the old layout, the history.”

Not only will the new building serve as a headquarters for the Lacombe & District Historical Society, it will also be home to a number of other local organizations including Lacombe Tourism, the Historical Society’s archives and will be a museum with space for permanent displays as well as rotating exhibits.

Marie Péron, executive director for the Lacombe & District Historical Society, said that making the facility multi-use has made the project a little more complex.

“When you build a museum there is a lot that goes into it, you aren’t just designing a building you have to think of what’s going to go inside of it,” said Péron. “It’s a large project.”

This new facility will also allow the Historical Society’s archives to be accessible by the general public.

Currently, the Society’s archives are tucked away in boxes and while resources can be provided to the public on request, it requires a lot of work to find and dig out any archives as they are stored now.

In the new facility, Péron hopes to have the archives digitally accessible by the public.

She said that the Society is currently undergoing a lot of work to do a full inventory of their collection in order to make that a possibility.

“That’s an important step,” said Péron.

“Our end goal in terms of being an archive is to provide access to this information,” she added.

“So as much as we want to preserve and collect it, we need to know, at the end of the day, how to make it accessible as well.”

The Lacombe & District Historical Society is just now creating a committee to begin the logistics of planning and constructing a new building.

Péron said that this committee will be responsible for undertaking research, consulting professionals, designing the facility and anything else that needs to be done before it can be constructed.

At this point, nothing is set in stone as to what the new facility will look like, but the plan is to construct a new stand-alone building next to the Michener House.

The new building will then be attached to the 1918 addition at the back of the Michener House.

However, the new building will still be a distinct structure from the Michener House.

It will have its own entrance, its own displays and its own facilities.

This new building will allow for some of the administrative facilities currently in Michener House to be moved to the new building making room for more dedicated displays about the historical house itself.

It will also enable wheelchair access to the Michener House.

“The new building will actually answer a lot of our needs,” said Péron.

So far, fundraising for the new facility has been fairly low-key.

Approximately $10,000 has been raised so far for the new project.

Most of the funding so far has come from a variety of sources such as bake sales, craft sales and personal donations from members of the local community, said Péron.

She added that part of the reason for the ‘every dollar helps’ fundraising approach is to not only help build awareness but also to bolster involvement within the community for the project.

She said that building community support for the project now will make it easier to overcome future challenges later on down the road.

For more information about the Lacombe & District Historical Society, the new project and the museums in Lacombe, call 403-782-3933 or email maski@telusplanet.net.

news@lacombeexpress.com