Following concerns expressed by city council over some of the budget and operation practices of the White Rock Museum and Archives Society, executive director Sharon Oldaker has come back saying the organization is doing the best it can with what it has.
One point of concern council raised was the museum's gift shop, which, according to the society's budget, made $11,000 in 2012 despite costing around $22,000 to run.
"Most museums have shops, it's part of the package for visitors," said Oldaker, noting that having a shop is a mandate from the society's board of directors. "One of the things not noted was that (the gift shop) is actually the first entry point for the museum, so that staff selling merchandise are also our hosts, they welcome them, greet them and inform them about exhibits and programs."
Additionally, Oldaker said the paid staff are all part-time, and that the shop is operated by volunteers the majority of the time.
"We are always striving for ways to make that shop more profitable and it is a long-term objective to do just that," she said.
As for concerns about visitor numbers following the information that 23,000 people visited the museum out of the 60,000 or so that visited White Rock in 2012, Oldaker said she actually sees the number as a point of pride.
"Really, that's more than a third of the visitors to the city entering the museum doors, which I actually look at as quite favourable," she said. "Our mandate is to offer programs that educate tourism visitors about the history of our city and look after the city's archives, so we really don't have the staff or the funding to further promote tourism as a goal, that's why we have tourism groups."
Finally, to comments that certain items in the organization's budget were not sustainable, such as a program to sell commemorative train plaques, Oldaker said that program has been a good earner for the museum thus far.
"That program has been in place since 2005," she said. "The goal then was to sell 1,000 train plaques and to date, we've sold under 500 and that's eight years later. So we haven't sold half of that opportunity, and to say that's unsustainable is an unusual comment because we still have a long way to go.
"The museum is alive and well and we are more than ever looking for ways to engage our community. I would invite everyone to come down and see what we're doing first-hand and be proud of the job we're doing on their behalf."