May 23rd, 2024

SPC hears details of Galt museum annual report


By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on April 20, 2024.

Herald photo by Al Beeber The Galt Museum and Archives, as well as Fort Whoop-Up, saw visitation increase last year, as stated in a report presented Thursday to the Safety and Social Standing Policy Committee of Lethbridge city council.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

The Galt Museum and Archives saw visitation increase 8.9 per cent in 2023 over 2022’s numbers.

And visitation to Fort Whoop-Up last year was up 19.2 per cent over 2022.

Those figures were contained in a report presented Thursday to the Safety and Social Standing Policy Committee of Lethbridge city council.

The report was submitted by general manager of Recreation and Culture Robin Harper and presented by Jesse Sadlowski, chairperson of the Galt’s board of directors.

The museum saw 22,977 people visit last year while the fort had 5,905 visitors, says the report.

Attendees to main gallery exhibits amounted to 6,515 people while there were 10,157 attendees to travelling exhibits, shows the Galt’s annual report.

The value of volunteerism was up 7.6 per cent from 2022 for a total of $118,314. A total of 150 volunteers put in time at the facility in 2023.

The museum and archives delivered 300 education programs in 2023 with 7,576 students participating. There were also 182 community programs in 2023 which attracted 5,387 participants. Six archives programs had 164 participants. There were more than 107,689 website visits recorded last year, as well.

Outgoing board chair Devon Smither says in the Galt’s annual report that “at the Board level, we diligently advanced key initiatives such as updating and formalizing policies and processes, continued to advocate for the role of the board in governing the museum, engaging in active recruitment for new board members and attending events and exhibition openings.”

The board also “provided steadfast support to the CEO/Executive Director, Darrin Martens, as he continued to lead the organization forward with his team, growing memberships, public and school programming, and advancing timely and critical exhibitions,” said Smither.

“As a key cultural institution in Lethbridge and the Southern Alberta region, the Galt persevered through the lingering challenges posed by the pandemic but did so by continuing to forge strong relationships with the varied communities and publics that make up our wonderful city and region.”

Martens, who retired last month from the museum, says in the report that “our priorities include redefining the museum, promoting reconciliation, creating a gathering place, and establishing a platform for inclusion. These four pillars are responsible for the ongoing evolution of the museum and fort and how we work with the community to better serve our ever-changing constituency.

“Our visitorship is growing, our engagements with tourists and program participants are deepening, our education programs are connecting with a greater number of classrooms, and our exhibition program are expanding to reach new audiences.”

Martens says he is confident the Galt can achieve its goals, noting that leading the museum team out of the pandemic and charting a new course was one of his greatest achievements of his career. He adds that the organization is “a remarkable institution with gifted team members and an exceptionally bright future.

“As we secure a new leader for our organization, I am confident that the wheels of change will continue to roll on. While there may be challenges and setbacks along the way, the resiliency of our team members and their dedication to excellence will continue under the watchful eyes of our committed Board of Directors,” says Martens.

There were 113 rentals last year, down 13.1 per cent from 2022. These functions, which attracted 7,734 people generated $76,805 in rental income.

Gross sales of $122,000 at the museum store were up 48.3 per cent from 2022 while gross sales of $61,523 at the fort store were up 4.3 per cent from 2022.

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