The unsinkable museum


Camille Douglas, Totem Times Newspaper ~

After a series of unexpected hardships, the HMCS Alberni Museum and Memorial has re-opened.

Wednesday, Oct. 16 marked a ribbon cutting ceremony at to celebrate their re-launch.

This year was to be a 20-year anniversary celebration, but Mother Nature and a criminal act set them back.

“In the spring, the museum was damaged by an arson fire,” said Lewis Bartholomew, founder and executive director. “Then, during a sudden rainstorm in the middle of the tourist season, we sustained severe water damage.”

When the call went out on social media that the museum needed to be evacuated due to the sudden flooding, the community rushed to aid. Within two hours of the announcement, the majority of the display cases and fixtures had been removed to an empty but dry store front next to the museum, and over the next two days, community volunteers came to assist in disassembling the entire museum, including a crew from HMCS Quadra.

Only then could the three-week drying process begin and the damages assessed.

Restoration efforts began, with tremendous support from the broader community through crowd funding and the donations of goods and services.

“Almost all of the initial estimate of damages – approximately $10,000 – was donated. The labour to remove and reinstall flooring was provided as a donation to the museum by a local flooring company and community volunteers,” said Bartholomew.


For more information on The Alberni Project and the HMCS Alberni Museum and Memorial visit, or drop by the museum at 625 Cliffe Avenue in Courtenay.

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