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Minister John Duncan announces funding for the U’mista Cultural Centre’s exhibition upgrade

July 21, 2014 – Alert Bay, British Columbia – Department of Canadian Heritage

The Government of Canada has provided the U’mista Cultural Society with support of $50,000 through the Museums Assistance Program toward the U’mista Cultural Centre’s Potlatch Collection exhibition upgrade project.

Funding will enable the Society to address the protection needs of artifacts on display from its nationally significant Potlatch Collection; create an interactive, hands-on learning area; develop educational programming; purchase and install audiovisual equipment; and improve visitor seating. The project will result in a modernized gallery with diversified educational offerings and improved care of artifacts on long-term display.

The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of State and Member of Parliament (Vancouver Island North), announced this funding today on behalf of the Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages.

Quick Facts

  • The U’mista Cultural Society was founded in 1974 with a mandate to ensure the survival of the cultural heritage and language of the Kwakwaka’wakw people.
  • The U’mista Cultural Society operates the U’mista Cultural Centre, a museum and cultural education facility. The Centre, built in 1980, was one of the first to house repatriated potlatch artifacts and is one of the longest-operating First Nations cultural facilities in British Columbia.
  • Recently, much of the Potlatch Collection has been travelling internationally as part of an exhibition co-produced with Germany’s Dresden Museum. This has provided an opportunity to upgrade the museum in order to improve the display and learning areas of this collection.
  • The Museums Assistance Program provides funding to Canadian museums and related institutions for projects that foster excellence in museum activities and that facilitate access to the treasures of our collective heritage.

Quotes

“Our Government is pleased to invest in projects that contribute to our nation’s identity. I commend the efforts of the U’mista Cultural Society for ensuring that Canadians can access and learn about the important history and traditions of our First Nations.”
—The Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

“U’mista’s celebrated Potlatch Collection is a source of national pride. Our Government is very pleased to support the preservation of Kwakwaka’wakw traditions for generations to come.”
—The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of State and Member of Parliament (Vancouver Island North)

“We are grateful to the Government of Canada for its support of the U’mista Cultural Society. With this grant from Canadian Heritage, we will update the display of U’mista’s historic, world-renowned Potlatch Collection to maximize its potential as a catalyst for learning by creating a hands-on gallery and including new types of experiences through our film and audio collections, while also ensuring the treasures on display are properly preserved.”
Sarah Holland, Executive Director, U’mista Cultural Society

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