by Tristan Turner
The Musée Morinville Museum submitted their 2014 operating budget to Council Feb. 11th. The budget was presented by Murray Knight, Treasurer of both the museum and the Morinville Historical and Cultural Society, which took over operation of the museum in 2009.
Knight said 1,539 people toured the museum’s collection in 2013, an average of approximately 128 people per month. On a per capita basis, Knight said Morinville’s visitor numbers are comparable to the St. Albert and Fort Saskatchewan Museums.
Knight also explained that the museum relies almost entirely on volunteer support to keep operating expenses low. “During 2013, 907.25 volunteer hours have been worked by the members of the Morinville Historical and Cultural Society,” he said.
In 2014, the Museum will be hosting many community events, including the Community Easter Egg Hunt and the Canada Day celebrations in St. Jean Baptiste Park. The Museum also engages in the annual St. Jean Baptiste and Christmas festivals.
After sharing the activities of the past year and some future projections, Knight highlighted shared the museum’s operating budget for 2014. The document shows that the museum’s largest expenses include facility rental, maintenance and utilities, as well as the wages for their one paid staff member. In total, the 2014 Morinville Museum budget includes expenses totaling $111,600 and revenues from grants, room rentals and donations adding up to $18,600, leaving the town with $93,000 in remaining expenses to cover. Following the budget breakdown, Knight reminded council that this year’s request is $9,900 less than the 2013 request.
Councillor Stephen Dafoe asked Knight about how the Museum intends to increase attendance in the future. Knight responded that the Museum has plans to blanket every senior’s home in Edmonton with literature about the Museum, and announced that he intends to try and increase the number of Museum bus tours.
Dafoe also asked about variety of exhibits. “Being an accredited museum, have you been able to leverage that into getting travelling programs through?” Dafoe asked. Knight said “the Alberta Museum Association is oversubscribed and underfunded,” adding provincial funding cuts make it difficult for the Morinville Museum to get substantial grants. “We get dribs and drabs [with grants], $500 a year, but the big one we’ve been chasing is the $25,000 operational grant, but the big museums are going to get that before us,” Knight explained.
The Town of Morinville 2014 Budget passed first reading during the same Council Meeting. That proposed budget includes the $93,000 request from the Morinville Museum.