HVAC 4 HMCS ALBERNI Museum&Memorial

$24k goal

Campaign created 1 month ago
Lewis Bartholomew  V9
The Alberni Project Society in Courtenay BC is in urgent need for a new HVAC system for its new museum facility in downtown Courtenay.  TAPS is asking for help from the community and the public so that we can continue to state that we are a community supported memorial project dedicated to the memory of the men who served on HMCS ALBERNI from the time she set sail from Esquimalt Harbour in 1941 until she sank beneath the waves off the coast of the Isle of Wight in 1944.

In the fall of 1999  Lewis Bartholomew, an American tourist, was a passenger on the Queen of Alberni ferry from the mainland of Canada to Vancouver Island. He happened to notice a print of a painting by Pat Burstall of HMCS ALBERNI hanging next to the Galley. Underneath the framed print was a brass plaque which told of the story of the sinking of Alberni within 30 seconds of being struck by a German torpedo and the loss of 59 men.  Bartholomew was struck with the idea of creating a memorial for those Canadians.  And so within 24 hours of seeing that image of HMCS ALBERNI, the Alberni Project was created.

TAP (as it was known by) began as a simple website memorial for the 59 crewmen and remained so for a few years based in Seattle Washington USA.  In 2002 Bartholomew immigrated to Canada and Vancouver Island where his pension would sustain himself and the project.  And all of the web files were moved to a Canadian webserver. But change was in the wind.

In 2003 Bartholomew was invited to Winnipeg and HMCS CHIPPAWA for a Battle of the Atlantic Memorial service for the men from Manitoba who were lost with the Alberni.  It was at this commemoration that he met two of the surving 30 crewmen.  After talking with them for a while, they asked that TAP not plan to build a memorial cairn or cenotaph in some park, but instead create a mobile exhibit and memorial that would travel to the people.  They urged that TAP would travel to schools, shopping malls, festivals and the like...to take their story to the people instead of hoping that the people would find a lonely cairn in some park somewhere. Their main thought was that they wouldn't be forgotten.

So a mobile exhibit and memorial was slowly developed as money and materials became available.  Bartholomew paid for most of the improvements out of his own pocket.  And by 2010 TAP had developed an adjustable exhibit which could easily fit on a table for small venues or expand to a 40 foot long tented interactive exhibit.  By 2011 TAP exhibits had a visitor count of close to 1000 people per year; from tip to tip and side to side of Vancouver Island.

Comox Centre Mall owner approached Bartholomew in 2013 and offered a low rent space to establish a full time museum and memorial while still showing TAP around Vancouver Island.  And so the HMCS ALBERNI Museum and Memorial (HAMM) was founded.  This was quickly followed by the formation of The Alberni Project Society, a registered non-profit society in BC.  As more donations came in special exhibits were produced in association with the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, the Chinese Canadian Military Museum in Vancouver for ONE WAR: TWO VICTORIES, and the Tosh Studio in Calgary for their War Brides exhibit.  Visitor count by the end of 2015 was averaging over 5000 visitors per year to both TAP and HAMM locations.

In September 2016 HAMM was asked to leave the Comox Mall by the new owners, so a new home had to be found quickly.  The owners of the Courtenay Mall came to HAMM with a tremendous opportunity to renovate an old empty space.  

After some very costly renovations and financial set backs, HAMM opened its doors to the public on January 16, 2017.  Unfortunately the costly move meant that certain items for renovation took a back seat as even Bartholomew's pension couldn't cover the cost to install a proper HVAC system in the new facilty.

HAMM is currently heated by a small commercial ceiling heater and several space heaters to heat our 1290 sq ft exhibit space.  With the high cost of hydro the Society is having a rough time heating the museum and artefacts in storage.  And with summer coming they know that it will be extremely hot in our southern exposure unit.

So HAMM needs your help and support to not only  make our new facility comfortable for all the visitors we receive, but it will also help to maintain a regular temperature for all the artefacts and irreplaceable items that have been donated to the Memorial and to the Museum.

A new HVAC system has been designed to fit our needs, but grant money is very difficult to find for site improvements of this nature.  Furthermore, the Society's "war chest" of funds has been drained by HAMM not being open for 4 months during the renovation schedule.  With a historic snow fall soon after HAMM's opening day, visitor count for the first two months has been very slow. Low public donations in HAMM's donaton chest means that HAMM has no funds available to install this final element of our new facility.

Please help us with our need to install a new HVAC system for HAMM to have a regulated environment for some of Canada's history.

The winter's cold has nearly forced us to close several days this year and we know that summer is fast approaching with its high temperatures.  We need to install this HVAC sytem as soon as we can.

Thank you very much for your support.

The Alberni Project Society
BC Registerd Non-Profit Society #S-0062206
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Update 1
Posted by Lewis Bartholomew
1 month ago
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Thanks to all of the support, we are slowly reaching our goal.
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$24k goal

Campaign created 1 month ago
Created February 27, 2017
Lewis Bartholomew  
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