Aurora’s Museum needs ITS home, not a new one.

The home of the Aurora Museum has been, and when logic prevails, will be again the Church Street School.

I was disgusted to read the following article in the Era Banner:
http://www.yorkregion.com/news/article/963692–aurora-museum-needs-home

Who does the director of the Aurora Cultural Center believe she is when she says:

“I’d encourage everyone to come in (to the centre) with eyes open, without any preconceived notions and see all of the hard-working and good people trying to make this facility all it can be,”

WTF?

I’d encourage the director to open her eyes and without any preconceived notions come to understand exactly how it is that the building her center is occupying came to be restored and for what purpose.

I know there is no museum currently on the site, but changes to the usage for the Church Street school hardly “happened a long time before we came on the scene” as she claimed. 

The following picture was on the cover of the May 6th 2008 edition of the Auroran:

Heritage

Notice the sign that reads:

Aurora Museum

Closed for Renovation and Expansion as Aurora Heritage Centre

It was accompanied by this copy:

Aurora’s famed Church Street School, originally known as the Aurora Public School, is currently undergoing major renovations. Before the year is over, it’s expected the building will be finished and will become the Aurora Heritage Centre, housing the town museum.

Does it say: Museum closed for opening of elitist Cultural Centre?

I don’t think so.

If we take a look a little further back and reference the Aurora Historical Society’s website (http://aurorahistoricalsociety.ca/ ) and strategic plan we find:

The Society’s plans for an Aurora heritage centre, whose work would encompass and enhance that of its two museums and outreach programs to the community, began in 1999. In 2003 the Society made arrangements to lease the entire Church Street School Building from the Municipality and refurbishment of the building was commenced in 2004.

In July 2007 the Town of Aurora Council voted to assume both construction and operating costs of the Heritage Centre project.

Councilor Buck commented on this in a post titled “a promise not kept” on her blog here:
http://evelynmbuck.blogspot.com/2007/05/promise-not-kept.html

Piecing together any more of the details has proven much more difficult, of course if we had a museum this would not be the case.

From a private collection of one resident I’m happy to share this rare artifact, a coffee mug:

Mugsa

On the front is a line drawing of the steeple of the Church Street School.  It reads:

Aurora Museum
25h Anniversary 1973-1998

On the back it reads:

Founded by the Aurora and Distruct Historical Society in 1973, the Aurora Museum is housed in the Church Street School, formerly the Aurora Public School.  The school was built in 1886.

So it appears the Aurora Museum was operating out of the Church Street School for the better part of 35 years.

It never returned following the renovation, but something entirely different all too conveniently took its place.

It is a cop out for Mrs. Schembri, or anyone from the Cultural Centre, to throw her hands up and say

“The whole question of what happened to the museum is not really ours to answer”.

Bullshit!

You occupy the building supplied by the town for the purposes of housing a museum.

You receive almost $500,000 annually from the town, through a questionable 5 year contract whereby you operate at arms length and have no accountability for how you spend these funds.

That produces no shortage of questions for you to answer.

I’m sure you are convinced when you say “Everything that we’ve done to date is just the tip of the iceberg.”

But without the building or the elaborate payout from the town the Aurora Cultural Centre looks to be more of a Titanic.

The town of Aurora has operated since it’s inception without a “cultural centre” and never experienced a deficit of culture.

Conversely this is the first period the town has been without a museum in a long time.

This is clearly unacceptable.

Our museum needs to come home.

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