Museum volunteers Cherry Hooper and Barbara Key wrap up handwoven baskets at the Agassiz-Harrison Museum last week in preparation for interior renovations.

Agassiz-Harrison Museum gets a makeover

Funding from Wayward Pines goes to paint and carpet for local museum

One of Agassiz’ oldest buildings is getting a makeover. The Agassiz-Harrison Museum and Visitor Information Centre is undergoing a renovation throughout the coming weeks, in time for the scheduled season opening May long weekend.

With worn carpet and tired walls, the historic building in downtown Agassiz will be spruced up with new paint and flooring. The museum’s last paint job was in 2003 when it was moved back to its original location from the research centre. However, it has never had a complete paint job since the 1980’s when it first opened as a museum. While some of the museum has original flooring – the gift shop and upstairs – the main hall downstairs has carpet from the 1980’s. The carpeted area will soon feature vinyl planking instead.

The funding comes through the revenue the District of Kent made from the filming of a television series here last year. Using Agassiz as the backdrop for Wayward Pines provided the District with an extra $309,500 in revenue. Council voted unanimously to give $22,500 of that funding to the Agassiz Historical Society. The remainder of the funds are being held in reserve, to be spent on a legacy project.

“We’re very appreciative the District is supporting this project,” says Judy Pickard, manager at the Agassiz Harrison Historical Society.

The museum was originally a Canadian Pacific Rail station, built in 1893. In the 1970s, CP started to tear down its old stations. The District of Kent was able to save the local building by moving it off CP land and out to the research station. When the District took ownership over the land that is now Pioneer Park, they brought the museum back to its old location to anchor the park back in 2003.

The colours will be similar to the neutral tones in the museum now, with perhaps an accent wall to “update things a bit,” says Pickard.

“We want to keep the heritage theme,” she assures.

A hardworking group of about 15 museum volunteers worked every day last week to move every item out of the main hall.

“I’m so proud of them,” says Pickard. “It’s gone so fast.”

It was not an easy job. There are factors to consider when packing up artifacts, such as using the appropriate packing material for certain items, wrapping up fragile pieces very carefully and labelling everything in detail so it can be put back in the right spot. And the sheer volume of items meant a lot of boxes to be filled and moved out of the work spaces. Some high school students also volunteered their time to move the heavy furniture.

The painting started this week and will continue over the coming weeks, followed by the floor installation. The Agassiz-Harrison Museum and Visitor Information Centre plans to open May 16.