The City of Castlegar has approved $25,000 from its community enhancement fund for the Doukhobor Discovery Centre’s proposed archives and research centre.
Discovery centre director Ryan Dutchak says the centre would be “dedicated to collecting, sharing, and preserving artifacts that are related to the Doukhobor history in Canada and Russia. The end goal is to provide an accessible public space where people can study and learn about Doukhobor history and Canada’s multicultural heritage.”
Dutchak says although the museum has an archival collection, presently there is no space to properly store it or share it with the public. They plan to convert the unfinished basements of the museum’s two communal homes into a proper archives and storage space.
“The south building basement is tagged to be our reading room where things will be made available to the public,” he says. “It’s a big renovation project. We’ve had some architectural work done already and that’s what we’re still working on in addition to securing funding.”
Dutchak says there would also be a preservation and intake space with proper environmental controls.
They are further hoping to expand their collection by adding more textual information, including correspondence, records, interview transcripts, and other documents, as well as artifacts related to Doukhobor history.
Dutchak says the project will also make it easier to keep track of what they have and locate and retrieve it quickly. “Currently that’s not possible. It will make things much more efficient.”