By Heather Ramsay-Queen Charlotte resident Sandra Price was thanked for her $20,000 donation at this year’s Haida Gwaii Museum annual general meeting, held April 30 in Skidegate.
Ms Price has been volunteering with the museum to create a database of island button blankets. The 500-record database documents designers and sewers of this textile art form. Researchers and those looking for inspiration for their own designs have already used it, said museum director Nathalie Macfarlane.
The money will be placed in an endowment fund, with the intention to support commissions, create exhibitions and help continue Ms Price’s work.
Ms Price said her gift is to acknowledge the important work the museum has been doing and the synergies that exist between all who work at there.
Button blankets have been her passion since she first read the book Robes of Power: Totem Poles on Cloth, by Doreen Jensen and Polly Sargent. She later wrote an article about button blankets for a fibre arts magazine and helped create a show.
“Every button blanket is unique and the stories of how they get made,” she said.
She is specifically interested in who made the crest, who taught who and the variations on the crests.
Ms Macfarlane said the museum hopes to hire a student to carry on Ms Price’s work.
In her report to the board, Ms Macfarlane said 2005 has been challenging for the museum due to all the construction at Qay’llnagaay. She is looking forward to the day when staff can start scheduling exhibits and events at the museum again.
Qay’llnagaay is now scheduled to open in July 2007, and she said plans for the first exhibit in the temporary exhibition space are in place. The show will feature 60 pieces from the museum’s Bill Reid collection and will be supplemented by other pieces owned privately on the islands. She said the unique thing about this show is it will present Bill Reid from a Haida perspective, acknowledging the mixed reputation he has here.
Keep an eye out this summer for a ceremonial pole raising in the new totem gallery. Ms Macfarlane said there are three house front poles lying on their side in the museum that will be raised, possibly as soon as July.
She said it will be a good time for the community to take possession of the building before the grand opening.
As for the permanent exhibits, she thanked the exhibit team again and said the Vancouver-based designers are going to be presenting their ideas soon.
She also thanked board member Sid Dickens, who has been working with her on a web site, which she said will be fantastic.
The role of the museum in the Qay’llnagaay Centre is being defined as well. Ms Macfarlane is proposing the museum run the gift shop and the admissions desk at the new heritage centre, something she said will require large amounts of additional funding.
In addition to working with museums in Liverpool, Washington, DC and more, curator Nika Collison will be working with the Burke Museum in Seattle on an exhibit that will recreate a model of a Haida village made for the World’s Fair in 1887. Twenty-seven, three-foot house models of Skidegate were made by leading artists at the time.
Also at the AGM Simon Davies of the Friends of Taan gave a presentation about the group’s campaign to end the bear hunt on the islands. He said 44 bears were killed by non-resident of BC trophy hunters last year and he would like to see an end to it.
He hopes people will get involved to help tip the CHN’s negotiations with the province on the issue. He suggests people look at the Friends of Taan website and put up more signs on their properties to let visitors know about their concerns.
Treasurer Cathy Rigg gave the financial report. Grants, admissions and gift shop sales were down in 2005, mainly due to decreased programming and visitors during construction. She said many community members stepped up to the plate and made $10,491 in donations, up almost $7,000 from 2004. More people bought lifetime society memberships as well.
Some of decreases in revenues were offset by decreases in expenditures as less gift shop purchases were made. All in all the museum finished the year with a more than $6,000 surplus.
Elections were held and Dean Nomura remains president, Cindy Boyko is the new first vice-president and Pearle Pearson remains second vice-president
Cathy Rigg remains treasurer and Monique Brown, secretary. Chris Collison represents Old Massett, Dutes Dutheil, Tlell; Jenny Cross, Skidegate; Dianne King and Gladys Noddin, Queen Charlotte; Sid Dickens and Alice Cervo, Sandspit; and Art Lew, Masset. Other directors remain on the board as well and did not face election this term.
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