The New Iceland Heritage Museum graced donours with a night of entertainment and endowment news on June 14.
Executive Director of NIHM, Julianna Roberts, welcomed guests with a symbol of reciprocal care. She noted that the museum’s status as one of 7 signature museums in the province of Manitoba is being enhanced by a grant from Manitoba Heritage for the new Lake Winnipeg exhibit, displayed at the Gimli Visitor Centre, in addition to fundraisers and events.
More than 15, 000 people visit the museum each year.
Fundraisers and events include a trivia night, Icelandic language classes, school tours, business conferences, an event at the Gimli Ice Festival and an Icelandic movie night. There were also celebrations like Bolludagur, Manitoba Day, Canada Day, and Christmas at the museum.
Chairman of the board of directors for the NIHM, Dr. Ryan Eyford stated, “I know you care deeply about the stories our museum tells.” The province of Manitoba and the Winnipeg Foundation support museums by building endowment funds. They jointly launched the MHTP Manitoba Heritage Trust Program.
Eyford explained that every $2 that goes to the NIHM endowment fund which the Winnipeg Foundation administers, $1 is matched by the province before March 31, 2021 – up to $85,000 in “stretch dollars.”
The Westshore Foundation, giving the Gimli museum a solid foundation to build upon, established a fund for the NIHM over a decade ago. “It’s similar to planting a tree – we all know that the best time to plant a tree is today. We’re fortunate in that our board and the Westshore foundation planted this tree in 2008, and it is now well established.”
“Our roots as an institution go back more than forty years,” added Eyford. “Small community based museums can be precarious institutions. They are only as strong as their supporters.”
“The museum simply would not exist without a community to care for it and nurture it.”
An “Increase to our endowment fund (will) push us further toward the day when that tree will begin to bear fruit that will sustain the museum over the long term, no matter what the challenges the future may bring,” summarized Eyford.
Entertainment was provided by the Gimli High School Jazz Collective, lead by band program teacher Mr. Chrol. Performers included: Erik Isfeld on bass, Jasmine Henry doing vocals, Braden Yablonski on piano, Autumn Ehrich on drums, and Thor Dalzotto on trombone and vocals.