Sarah Benson

Sarah Benson

Design firm chosen to map out future Trail museum/library

The city hired Boni-Maddison Architects, a Vancouver design firm, to create a plan for a new museum/library in downtown Trail.

Tucked away at the top of a long flight of stairs in city hall, is a space that houses the story and history of Trail.

With limited accessibility to the public and virtually no room for display, the Trail Archives and Museum collections are in dire need of a new location.

Council addressed the need for a larger facility to honour the city’s heritage and to expand the Trail library in an announcement Tuesday.

The city hired Boni-Maddison Architects, a Vancouver design firm, to create a plan for a new museum/library in downtown Trail, a recommendation made by the Trail Library and Museum Building Steering Committee.

“This is very exciting,” said Sarah Benson, director of the Archives and Museum. “It will be wonderful to have broader exposure of our archives in the community.”

The museum/library proposal is a project that Barbara Gibson, chair of the Trail Library Board, has championed for years.

“We are in dire need of a new library facility,” said Gibson. “We need to engage the public to make this concept a reality.”

The goal is to have the $30,000 design complete by December, leaving plenty of time for the museum/library project to go to a referendum at the same time citizens of Trail cast a vote in the municipal election slated for October 2014.

The public will have an opportunity to vote on a loan authorization bylaw that will give council the go ahead to borrow money needed to proceed with the construction of the facility.

“We’ve been through this before,” said Gibson, referring to the 2009 library relocation referendum.  “There is still a strong need and we need to show that we want it.”

The Trail Archives was established in 1978 at the Pine Street site, to collect, preserve and make available to the public the photographic and documentary history of the Silver City.

“We are really proud of our archival collection of over 12,000 photographs,” said Benson. “But we are running out of space.”

In addition to historical photographs, Trail Archives and Museum staff and volunteers tend to almost 2,000 artifacts, with a flagship collection of sports memorabilia displayed in the Trail Memorial Centre.

Ideally, a new facility will allow the archives to be exhibited together, year round.

“We don’t know what it will look like yet,” said Benson. “But having an integrated space under one roof should be a real boost for the community and visitors passing through.”