Ladysmith Museum will open its doors May 19

As the Ladysmith Museum gets ready to open in May, it is looking for volunteers to help once the doors are open.

Volunteer curator Bernardien Knol (left) and Ladysmith and District Historical Society president Maureen Martin show off one of the heaviest exhibits in the First Avenue museum

Volunteer curator Bernardien Knol (left) and Ladysmith and District Historical Society president Maureen Martin show off one of the heaviest exhibits in the First Avenue museum

The exhibits and displays are coming together, and now it’s time to start thinking about what happens once the Ladysmith Museum is open.

Volunteers have been working hard to fill the new museum, which has found a temporary home at 721 First Ave., with artifacts, photographs and stories, and now that they have a set opening date, the Ladysmith and District Historical Society is looking for volunteers who will host the museum once the doors open May 19.

They say it wouldn’t be too much of a commitment — maybe one five-hour shift a week. And volunteers would receive training from the Historical Society.

Volunteer curator Bernardien Knol says their role would basically be to welcome people to the museum and answer questions.

“People need to have an interest in history and like to talk to people,” she said.

“They don’t have to be on their feet too much,” added Maureen Martin, president of the Historical Society.

If anyone is interested in volunteering with the museum, they can call the Ladysmith Archives at 250-245-0100.

The Ladysmith and District Credit Union has offered the use of the old Ladysmith Resources building for the temporary museum on First Avenue, and Knol and members of the Historical Society have been hard at work getting ready for the spring opening.

They’ve cleaned out the building, put in new flooring, painted walls and done some renovations such as fixing up the bathroom, with the help of volunteers.

Volunteers have moved artifacts over to the new building, electricians have put in lighting, and Knol’s husband Gary has been putting in shelving and creating displays units. He’s even building a railway trestle.

As far as Knol knows, Ladysmith is the only town on the Island that doesn’t have a public museum.

“This is going to be the official museum run by the Historical Society,” she said.

The Ladysmith Museum will showcase a wide range of artifacts, photographs and stories.

“It will touch on all kinds of areas, from mining and logging to community living, the building of the town itself, health services,” said Knol. “Knight’s Store and the Ladysmith Trading Company will be represented. It will feature some ladies of Ladysmith — that is one of the different things with this museum.”

“It will be her story, not just his story,” agreed Martin.

Knol says the museum will have lots of photographs because the Historical Society is lucky enough to have the Ray Knight Collection.

“That’s something I think is going to set us apart from other small museums, the number and type of photos we have,” she said.

Martin and Knol are excited the museum is just three months away from opening.

“It’s been planned for years; it just hasn’t happened until we got the building from the Credit Union,” said Knol.

The opening of the new museum does not mean any change to the Ladysmith Archives, which will remain beneath Tim Horton’s.