Kagawong museum receives COVID-19 funding support

The Old Mill in Kagawong

KAGAWONG – The Old Mill Heritage Centre in Kagawong received some good news recently with funding being announced by Canadian Heritage.

“Rick Nelson (curator of the Old Mill Heritage Centre) supplied us a letter to inform us that the museum received a grant for $5,000 which will help provide assistance to them, with the late opening and then partial opening due to the pandemic,” said Ian Anderson, mayor of Billings Township, at a council meeting last week.

In his letter to council Mr. Nelson explained, “just a quick note to let you know that we received confirmation from Canadian Heritage that the museum has been granted $5,000 from the COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund.” 

“This funding will be very helpful with our 2020 revenue shortfall due to the coronavirus. This venture could not have been possible without the help from your staff. Kathy (McDonald) and Todd (Gordon) were able to juggle their very busy schedule to work with me developing the application,” explained Mr. Nelson.

Mr. Nelson told the Recorder, “Canadian Heritage offered emergency funding and through the municipality we applied for the funding. This funding will help with our revenue deficit this year with the lower attendance and is very much appreciated.” 

Mr. Nelson pointed out the museum closed after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. He told the Recorder, “I haven’t done a count on our final attendance figures for this year, but we had about 1,200 visitors. This is well below our attendance in a normal year, but considering the pandemic, we started late this year; usually we open in May but this year we opened in July. And during the season we are normally open seven days a week, while this year we were open five days a week. So in total we lost about 50 days of being open.”

The museum in Kagawong was one of only two to open this year on Manitoulin Island, with the other being the Centennial Museum in Sheguiandah. “We toughed it out, and we have no regrets,” he said, reflecting on the decision to open. He noted as well the bulk of visitors to the museum this year came from southern Ontario, especially the Toronto, Brampton, Mississauga and Burlington areas. 

“On behalf of the museum committee, I would like to thank you for approving going forward with this grant application,” wrote Mr. Nelson in his letter to council. “Billings council continues to be supportive in our ongoing museum projects and it is greatly appreciated.”