AESS students Alex Schwichtenberg and Eric Peterson pry a plank loose while Chase Bestwick and Nick Allen wait to move it out of the way. They volunteered their time at the museum last Thursday

Step back in time on a new platform at the Agassiz-Harrison Museum

New flooring and paint inside, plus new concrete entrance outside gives fresh feeling to old building

Visitors will soon be able to step back in time on a new entranceway to the Agassiz-Harrison Museum.

The museum received a federal grant to cover the cost of a new walkway and got to work on it last week. Museum volunteers prepped the site for the concrete company, with some help from AESS student volunteers. They ripped out the old wood planks, which will be sent to the Community Gardens to build new plots.

The wood entrance to the museum / visitor centre on Pioneer Ave. was old and rotting in spots. Boards have been replaced as needed over the years but the 12-year old walkway needed updating. On top of that, the wood has proven to be hazardous with the slightest precipitation, leading to safety concerns for visitors and volunteers, explains museum manager Judy Pickard.

“It was far too slippery, especially for senior volunteers who come weekly to help at the museum,” says Pickard.

So the new boardwalk will be made from stamped concrete, made to look like wood but with a much longer lifespan and safety rating. Pickard hopes that the nonslip surface will allow the museum to extend programming, perhaps to have volunteers come on a more regular basis or allow for event hosting.

The walkway isn’t the only thing new at the visitor centre / museum. Inside, the walls have been completely repainted, giving a fresh, light look to the place. Every single item had to be boxed up and moved for the painting and for a new floor to replace the old, worn carpet in the main hall of the museum. Volunteers have been working hard for weeks now, putting in hundreds of hours to pack, label, move, unpack, set up and prep the museum for opening.

“We have just an amazing group of volunteers here,” boasts Pickard.

Every single display was meticulously photographed and documented so items could be put back in their proper order. There are some small changes thanks to volunteer recommendations. Pickard invites the community to come out and have a look at the newly renovated museum / visitor centre once they are ready to open, to be announced soon. The original date of May 16 for opening had to be pushed back to accommodate the concrete work.

The walkway project was funded through a New Horizons for Seniors grant of $25,000. The painting and flooring project was made possible by the District of Kent Council, which voted to provide the museum with $22,500 out of the money earned through the filming of a show in Agassiz (Wayward Pines, which premieres tonight).

The museum was originally a Canadian Pacific Rail station, built in 1893. It has been lovingly taken care of by the Agassiz-Harrison Historical Society, and is now the site of Agassiz’ visitor information centre and museum for the entire local area.