In 1992 I joined the Paris Museum & Historical Society. I quickly became a board member assisting the curator Fred Bemrose.
In the 1990’s we negotiated with the Paris Library to take over their archives, located on the second floor of the library. Many people joined us then – people like Roger Sharpe, who volunteered many hours.
By 1998, Fred had retired and I was appointed curator in his place.
In October of 1998 we were asked by the Public Utilities Commission to re-locate as they needed their space in the basement where we were storing our collections.
At the beginning of November we moved into a rental warehouse space on Woodslee Ave. Moving day began as a clear day, but just after the last box was in the new warehouse, it started to snow and didn’t stop for at least another day. Three months later we were very glad that we had moved when the basement space we had been in with the Public Utilities Commission flooded to the ceiling! Our collections would have been lost!
Through 1999 on most Saturdays, Norma Maus and I, with a few others sporadically helping, started cataloging the vast number of artifacts in our collection. Cataloging then was primitive compared to what we do today.
Over the next several years not only did I do the curator’s job, but I also held positions on the Board. I was President three times, Secretary twice and various other positions.
At some point it was time to hire a curator as a full time position. It was then that Lana Jobe became our new curator.
Finances have always been a concern. As money from the bequest from the Cox family was running out, rental costs became a concern. It was decided to move to a county-owned facility to reduce our costs. Interest income did not match our expenses and we were growing in leaps and bounds.
Even after moving to the county-owned Syl Apps Arena, money became a serious issue. We could no longer support Lana’s salary and so Lana left the museum soon after. It was a difficult time for the museum, but we pulled together.
Mary Gladwin took over the helm and with her husband, Bob Groucock, they started getting The Paris Museum back on track. An appeal went out for volunteers, and many of us came back to pitch in once again. I became the Curator again with Bob Groucock’s support. One day after I was talking with him, he went home, went to bed and never woke up. That put a huge hole in our operations. It took quite a while for us to get back on our feet, but we did.
Since that time we have made great strides forward with our museum and archives. Through this time, I am proud to have been able to take the lead at our museum and archives collections. Since I first started as curator in 1998, I have made it my mission to make the archives “User Friendly”.
Approximately two years ago, I came to the realization that I needed to start looking for a replacement curator. With the Board’s help, a search was carried out. About eight months ago that person was found. I started training and nurturing them, telling them the stories I had learned, the history behind the collections and much more.
I was going to hand over the Curator’s position at the AGM, but recently I found this person was not going to be attending the AGM as they would be travelling.
So the day of the Volunteer Appreciation event seemed like a better day to pass the torch to Tina Lyon while surrounded by our volunteers. I have worked with and shared so many stories with them as a team of friends to enhance PMHS.
The “Assessment Register” book is a symbol of the Curator’s duties. It is the starting point where the curator assigns a donation its number, records the donor’s name and writes an overview of what has been donated. It is a fitting symbol to pass on.
I have had the pleasure of watching your new curator blossom over these last few months. She is thorough, inquisitive, investigative, has a good memory, is gifted with many talents and is easy to work with.
And so it gives me great pleasure to hand over this book as the symbol of the title, “Curator”, to Tina Lyon to carry on the work as our new curator for PMHS from this time forward.
Thank you all for your patience and dedication while working/volunteering with me.