exhibit A : silos

The Aurora Collects Dust exhibit that ran last year is a prime example of how poorly heritage programming is being done in Aurora, and how much it costs us all for the privilege.

I commented on the mediocre exhibit in this post:
https://wattstrending.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/exhibit-a/

As well as pointing out the absurdity of including a post-it-note wall and considering it an “interactive” in this post: https://wattstrending.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/all-stuck-up/

Back at the June 25th 2013 council meeting Catherine Richards spoke about the exhibit, you can watch @ the 11:00 mark on the Rogers video feed here:
http://www.rogerstv.com/page.aspx?lid=237&rid=69&sid=3186&gid=115084

She eludes to a forthcoming report on expenditures that would be brought forth in July.

That report, #PR14-005, was not delivered in July but 6 months later in January 2014.

The cost of the exhibit is shown as $36,635.59.

That is 92% of the upset amount of $40,000 that council agreed to on April 23rd
http://www.aurora.ca/app/wa/mediaEntry?mediaEntryId=61290

This is $36,000+ that was spent in addition to:

– $50,000 awarded as an annual grant to the Aurora Historical Society
– an additional $10,000 grant addition to the Aurora Historical Society in 2013 for celebrating Aurora’s 150.
– $360,000 Cultural Services agreement that funds the Aurora “Cultural” Center that is supposed to include “Heritage Programming”

The whole exercise seemed like the passing of a hot potato with unreasonable resistance from both the Aurora Cultural Centre and the Aurora Historical Society causing these additional expenses.

To add to the insanity the exhibit itself only ran from July to November. It was then swiftly dismantled.

The reason it had to be removed in November was the puny “Aurora Room” designated for the display was already allocated by the Aurora Cultural Centre.

Curious to know exactly what was booked for that room I learned it was the Aurora Farmers Market for their indoor market dates.

I have commented in previous posts how the indoor Framers Market set-up has made poor use of space at the Church street school, and vendors have no desire to be in that room.

Well here are two pictures of the Aurora Room from the indoor market in November:

The room wasn’t even used by the Farmers Market, as they expanded to the main floor.

Nor was it used on the indoor market of Saturday January 18th. On that day The doors to the Aurora room were closed to the public.

WTF?

The opportunity to capture the traffic of the indoor Farmers Markets was lost during the council debate which was preoccupied with capturing the traffic from the July 1st parade.

So how did that work out exactly?

When I visited the exhibit the week it was being torn out I checked the guest book.

On July 1st only 4 signed guestbook including mayor, a councilor and AHS and cultural center staff.

The book had a total of 24 signatures.

Wow.

The report forwarded to council offers no metrics as to traffic or impressions, which is inexcusable when it cost over $7,000 a month to run.

Another opportunity was neglected in the process. The motion council approved for this exhibit included the following clause:

THAT CAM be encouraged to use the services of a co-op student for this project

There is no mention of use of students in this report, as far as I know none were used.

This is upsetting given that there are several programs that would align with this initiative, here is one as an example: http://www.centennialcollege.ca/successstory/heritage-site-management-award

Report #PR14-005 laughably references the Town’s strategic plan, specifically the section that suggests an “exceptional quality of life”

Notice the absence of any reference to “innovation” or “sustainability”.

So much for coming together and celebrating Aurora’s Past Present and Future in its 150th year. Instead conservative minds prevailed to produce a non-engaging and needlessly expensive exhibit that had to be scuttled because organizations in this town prefer to remain in comfortable insular silos, protecting their own interests at the cost of the town’s.

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