100 Years into the Future

There is always something to do at the Museum. New exhibits come and are enjoyed and then they leave. Permanent exhibits are improved and modified. Historical objects have to be logged and documented.

I went to the Museum to check on a leak due to heavy rains and the recent snow melt. Last year we had put in a French Drain that needs expansion.

While there some of the Museum staff asked me about some pictures they were in the process of archiving. Happily, I could tell them exactly what a couple of them were. This is a constant task for them as pictures with no explanation are commonplace.

The current archives are too small for the large historical record that they hope to contain. Go there some time and have the staff show you the large and heavy doors that enclose at least a part of the historical record. Look around for the fire control and the requirements for atmospheric control. You can’t just toss something in a drawer or file cabinet.

Last year I got nervous about all the documentation and pictures that I have dealing with the Chantry Island Restoration. I had them all stored in the top floor of an 1878 Yellow Brick House. Ironic eh? They were under the eaves and unmarked.

At a Propeller Club meeting I asked for volunteers to help me to archive them at the Museum. One person came forward. She said to me: “You’ve found the right person”. She was a retired librarian. Some months later she returned all my records, slides and pictures in perfect order. She had properly archived them by using the guidelines, methods and protocol dictated by Museums Canada wide.

She comes to the Museum often to work on material that is part or should be part of the expanding archives.

The current archives and work areas are broken up into small areas that were dictated by the layout of the old school that is part of the most recent expansion. Often areas that are chopped up due to the Old School’s Layout are not conducive to organized work. Often conference rooms are used to gather together volunteers and staff. They are located on the first floor and are not part of the existing Archives.

The Archives are a serious business and we need to think in terms of hundreds of years and not decades.

I am dead set against using the old Anglican Manse as part of a new expansion. Let’s think in terms of at least 100 years.

People who like the old Manse should look at it in terms of 100 or 200 years. There are at least 100 old yellow brick houses in Port Elgin and Southampton to love. There is a much, much older house next door to the Anglican Church across the street).

Could the Manse be moved? Of course it could be moved. Here is how.

1. Buy a lot of the right size.

2. Strip the Manse of all brick and move the brick to the new lot for storage

3. Hire a framing company to come in and measure and photograph the existing structure that is now exposed.

4. Save some of the key wood structure to use for finer measurements and templates.

5. Make construction drawings from the pictures and measurements.

6. Add proper electrical and water requirements to the drawings. Try to add the expensive atmospheric control devices and insulation.

So what do you have after putting Humpty Dumpty together again? You have an old house that will be impossible to sell and at the same time recover the investment.

Now you will notice that I’ve suggested that the move is really a save brick and start over again approach. You could also move the entire house, but the brick would be fractured and it would have to be redone anyway. The interior would have to be totally stripped to the framing also.

If you keep the Manse and try to use it as part of the archives you will have to compromise function. So you would end up with a functionally flawed structure. Big areas are needed that are environmentally protected. Large unencumbered work spaces are needed too.

Rather than blow whistles, talk around each other and start law suits, we should find out what the goals are over what time frame. Litigation is not functional. Let’s not archive it to tell the future what we were really like. Let’s leave something of value.