The new executive and board of directors of the Hay River Museum Society includes, front, left to right, vice-chair Bonnie Crowther, chair Tom Lakusta and secretary Sheila Cook; and board members, back row, left to right, Mattie McNeill, Randy West-Pratt, Judy West-Pratt and Peter Osted. Missing from the photo are treasurer Linda Carter and board member Vicky Latour.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

The Hay River Museum Society has chosen its new leadership group for the coming year.

Tom Lakusta is back as chair for his second year.

“It’s wonderful,” Lakusta said of serving as chair of the society, which operates the Hay River Heritage Centre. “Working with people that are involved as volunteers at the museum is just a joy. People care passionately about this. They’re incredible volunteers, a lot of positive energy. It’s a lot of fun to work with people like that.”

The other members of the new executive are vice-chair Bonnie Crowther, treasurer Linda Carter and secretary Sheila Cook.

The other board members are Vicky Latour, Judy West-Pratt, Randy West-Pratt, Peter Osted and Mattie McNeill.

The society held its annual general meeting on April 27 and the board members were acclaimed. Immediately after the AGM, the new board met and decided who would be on the executive for the coming year.

The society’s constitution requires between five and 11 board members.

“Because we did not have more than 11 nominees, then all of the people who allowed their names to get put forward were acclaimed as board members,” Lakusta explained.

The returning chair was pleased that nine people were interested in serving on the board.

“I think the museum has a special place in people’s hearts in Hay River,” he said.

About 15 people turned out for the AGM.

The meeting reviewed the past year, when about 20 events were held at the Hay River Heritage Centre.

Lakusta noted that, in 2018, almost 3,000 people visited the museum, both local residents and visitors to the community.

“We get an overwhelming sense that people that visit the museum enjoyed their time there, and they found it interesting,” he said. “And the way our museum is set up and the way we run the museum I think makes it more accessible and even more enjoyable for people because it’s a little bit different than your standard museum.”

Lakusta noted that this year will involve several key focuses, including planning for 2020, which will be the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Hay River Heritage Centre.

“So we’re gearing up for a big year in 2020,” he said. “So this year is kind of a preparation year for next year. That’s pretty exciting.”

The society is also looking to finalize the transfer to the museum of the Radium Franklin tugboat and a house barge from the Marine Transportation Services Shipyard.

In addition, the society will be working with member Bruce Green on creating a brochure and possibly a display on the fossil history of Hay River.

Lakusta noted there are many ways more volunteers could help out at the museum, such as gardening, working on outside exhibits and helping to catalogue the collection.

The Hay River Heritage Centre will be reopening for the season on May 18.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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