Cumberland County Heritage Network Society

Sunday, March 6, 2011

CCHN Executive Meeting Minutes – December 9th, 2010

Date: December 9th
Time: Noon
Location: Fundy Geological Museum, Parrsboro

Members present: Oralee O’Byrne (Chair Person), Helen Sims, Jeff O’ Byrne, Shirley Nickerson, Ken Adams
Regrets: Anita Price (ANSM)

Oralee called the meeting to order. The minutes will be read later as Anita joined us by speakerphone for a short time. Anita met with Jenna Boon after our last CCHN unfortunately during the course of the meeting the opportunity to discuss issues around the county in detail did not arise. However Anita commented that Jenna is aware that other partners in her geographic region will be important and as Ken noted she understands Cape D’Or and Fundy.

Anita gave us an overview of her meeting with the seven museum sites the previous week (she will also meet with the tourism minister) to discuss issues such as the ANSM being cut back to its 2006 level. Funding cuts could mean some museums may face closure and all should look to the economic drivers in their communities. The ANSM is encouraging a Christmas letter campaign to target local MLA’s and MP’s so they are made aware of the situation.

Shirley commented on the effectiveness of this as they had sent out a letter to the Amherst Downtown Revitalization Committee and had received funding plus an assurance that signage to the museum will be one of their first priorities. Anita noted that any action should be taken in advance of the cut backs in funding programs. Shirley had a conversation with Paul Collins recently and CMAP will not be cutting its funding to the community museums but probably the Provincial ones. The provincial government has not signed off on anything as yet but this could change meaning cuts may happen next year if not this year, commented Anita. However, cuts of 1-2% could mean staff reductions and changes to programming noted Ken, especially when cuts to education had already been announced. He asked Anita if she knew what the percentage could be and this could run as high as 10% but hopefully only around 4%. She also noted that heritage is only a small part of of the overall budget whereas education (cuts expected to be 22%) has a much larger section.

Anita attended a museums day organized by the CMA at the end of November where 150 participants of museums and art associations from across Canada met with senators to discuss the CMA program. It is hoped museums will become self sustaining and one initiative is that 25 million will be available to assist museums leverage private sector money, for example you would have to raise $15,000 to receive another $15,000. There was also the message from some conservatives that in order to gain something you would have to lose something. The next budget to be passed in the house could come into affect after April 1st, 2011. The ANSM is working on collective access and a pilot project is being developed.

Update on Virtual Tours Project - To date seven of the sites have paid their fee for the virtual tours project through the SDI funding. Josh has asked for four payments and 10% will be kept back until the project is finished. Shirley has not received the funding cheque as yet. Oralee suggested sending a reminder e-mail to those sites that have not paid. Josh will make the contact with the museums to set up appointments for filming. Ken noted there is no feedback on the visit to the county in the summer by Roger Brooks. Anita commented that the South West and HRM regions have discussed the Young Canada Works student grants and the fact the previous students can not reapply the following year. Helen noted that the criteria had changed drastically and that they are basically telling museums who they can hire which creates a problem when there only a few students available in rural areas. Anita said only about 6% of grants are approved and that the CMA has taken Heritage Canada to task over this but changes may not happen with this program. The YCW appears to be more interested in the students than the institutions hiring them. Museums need to know why they do not receive Provincial and Federal funding for students.

Oralee suggested a date be set for the CCHN AGM in the spring. The ANSM conference will be held in Tatamagouche from April 28th – 29th so Saturday May 7th 10am in Amherst at the Cumberland County Museum is the tentative date and location. The next executive meeting will be February 3rd with location and time to be set at a later date. Oralee thanked Anita for participating by phone and the meeting continued.

The minutes of the November 9th meeting were read and approved. Jeff asked if we could link to the United Steel Workers to help CCHN get money as they have a big voice. There was a brief discussion on the benefits of going to the newspaper to ‘drum up’ support. Shirley commented on submitting the minutes to the paper and Ken on doing an open letter to the constituents as well as the local MLA’s such as asking if they aware of possible cuts to their local museum which could mean a reduction of services offered. Shirley had statistics from the exit survey taken at Halifax airport showing that 3% of 1.9 million visitors had come to Nova Scotia for arts, culture and heritage and that 19% had visited a cultural heritage center during their visit.

Other Business – Don Agnew would be available to participate in a second JCP program and would qualify if we can put a new spin on the application such as marketing. Shirley also commented on the fact that the Cumberland County Museum was not considered a part of the Amherst Downtown Revitalization project as they are not part of that “downtown core” but that sending out a letter worked as they are going to improve the signage to the museum. A letter will be sent to the newspaper thanking the committee for that. It was agreed that Shirley would work on a JCP for Donald and Ken would do the letter to the constituents asking if they are aware of what heritage is available in the county and the number of staff including students are employed at these sites. It was also decided to invite the media to the AGM for around 1pm. Ken commented on the possible fall out and effects of funding cuts that may take affect in 2012 so Shirley suggested we also invite Scott Armstrong, MP and Brian Skabar and Jim Baillie our local MLA’s.

The CCHN members need to be more aware of what is happening and minutes need to be circulated more quickly to inform of issues such as possible funding cuts. We need to have a voice and articulate and clarify any messages we wish to send out. Shirley reminded us that the first letter sent to Brian Skabar was to mention that CCHN is not part of tourism publications and the reply was what did he want us to do and that he would pass on this information. We need to be clear on what we want as a fair percentage of the county have an interest in heritage. As Shirley noted branding is very useful as Nova Scotia by the Sea makes you think of heritage and Oralee commented that things started with Pier 21 and then spread out across the Province. Visitors come to NS to relax and step back into the past and we need to build our heritage from the ground up as our logo states, Helen noted.

Ken commented on his visitor numbers being down by 3%, possibly due to the delays with the new exhibit not opening till later in the summer. Oralee saw an increase at Age of Sail of about 15% but their revenue was down and that September was down which was unusual. Shirley noted that the registration of joint stocks is due and that we should remove those members from the list who have not paid their fees. Oralee suggested that when we send out the information for the AGM we note that membership ($25.00) is due by then. We will ask everyone to bring something for a pot lunch for the AGM. The contact for the CCGS is Susan Hill.

There was a discussion about the pass out to the schools with coupons for local sites and the possibility of purchasing or getting an IPOD donated for a prize. Delivery of these is not a problem as the school board does this but there is a cost and maybe CCHN could assist with this and Shirley suggested we pay for half of the printing. It was also agreed that CCHN be part of this program and this information will also be added to the AGM e-mail so that more museum sites can participate and visitors are entered into the draw at each site for the prize. Either each site would put in $10 or CCHN help with the funding for the prize. This will be discussed further at the next meeting.

Date of Next Meeting – The next meeting will be February 3rd with the tiem and location to be decided at a later date. The meeting was adjourned at 1:30pm.