"We want you to step into the past when you come into the museum, and get a new point of view."
Those were the opening words from Elliot Lake Nuclear and Mining Museum volunteer Linda Finn who appeared with fellow board member Jacque Grummett before Elliot Lake City Council Monday night. They were there to ask for $47,000 from the City of Elliot Lake next year.
"All those things that we have in our museum tell a story about who we are and where we've been, and maybe, where we are going,” Finn added.
The members of Elliot Lake's Museum Board have been busy making sure their collection is in good condition even though they haven't had a home for any of their artifacts since the roof of the ill-fated Lester B. Pearson Civic Centre collapsed last Feb. 21.
The museum used to be located in the now-derelict Highway 108 building's basement. Ever since the artifacts were salvaged and retrieved from the wreckage last March, they have been stored in various buildings around town.
The volunteers updated council on the progress made in salvaging, assessing and cataloguing the artifacts, and getting them ready for display in a future home.
They explained that intern Nicholas Casey is carrying out the work now, but his contract runs out in March. Finn said the board needs money from the city to keep the cataloging work going through the end of 2020.
She said the process is carried out to professional standards using a software package called Past Perfect which digitally pictures and stores many details about each artifact. She said the process can take more than hour for each piece.
"What is in our museum is a pretty extensive group of items and artifacts,” Finn explained. “We have a wonderful collection of rocks and minerals. We have items from the trapping and logging industries. We have a huge collection of artwork."
"We have some First Nations items and items from our mining heritage including an extensive display from mine rescue and mine safety," she said. "We also have a lot of recorded history and that consists of thousands of items that a lot of people have donated. Things like scrapbooks, photographs, personal items.”
She said after Casey's contract is up, they will need either a recent graduate from a mining studies program for the job, or the renewal of Casey's contract.
The 'ask' is to cover $39,000 in salary plus $8,000 in benefits equalling $47,000 for 40 weeks through December of 2020.
That request will be brought to the 2020 Ad Hoc Budget Committee for discussion.