I cannot believe the pile of snow that sits outside our front door, when only a week ago there was grass.
The weather is the best example of change and unpredictability. So we shouldn’t really be all that surprised with winter being delayed by a couple of months, considering all of the unpredictable days that we have endured in 2020. Perhaps after all of the ups and downs last year, the weather is one of the last things that we are really concerned about. An occasional winter storm, or even a typical Nor’Easter is certainly worth living here and proof that we really do live in the best place on the planet.
We have been fortunate with Covid-19 compared to other provinces and especially to other parts of the world. Closing down for 3 months last year, made us all step back and take this pandemic seriously. Social distancing has become the norm and face masks have become a part of our wardrobes, and as important as forgetting your purse or keys at home.
2020 was a terrible year for most businesses, especially tourism. In an effort to encourage visitors to the museum, we eliminated all admission costs and asked for a donation instead. Unfortunately, this did not increase our numbers or our revenue, but we remained Open for Business and ready to tackle the changes that have to be made to meet the new expectations & the restrictions we all are experiencing.
People often comment that I must get bored and lonely during the shoulder season, and yes, I might get lonely from time to time, but hardly ever bored. We are currently riding the current through the second wave of Covid-19 and while doing so, I have been pondering how we will manage through year two of Covid-19. For quite some time now, we have not been able to rely on admission costs alone to be a sustainable, and 2020 made it undeniable. So, while the snow piles up outside, so does the administration work for non-profits, museums and small businesses – because even a pandemic doesn’t stop the paperwork. We have to put on our creative hats to think about museums and heritage as a business and offer new services to our customers. Over the years I have spent time, money and effort expanding our museum Gift Shop and then the costumed Walking Tours. Although both of these projects have increased bottom line, it is time to think and plan again. One thing I know for sure, is that if a museum stays dusty, it will never stay afloat. (Both literally and figuratively!) So there is no better time to clear the cobwebs and spruce the place up for our summer guests, than there is right now.
The winter months is when all of the ‘elbow grease’ takes place; grant applications, financial statements; budgets and forecasts; project proposals; student grants; T4s , employee/payroll administration; designing advertising for the upcoming season; and so forth. We will be undertaking our Museum Evaluation this summer and there is a lot of pre-evaluation prep work that needs to be submitted now regards to updating policies and ensuring that we meet all of the industry standards. We are checking off the boxes and dotting the I’s to be prepared for the actual site visit in peak tourism season in early July.
Fortunately, only because of technology we have been able to continue and participate in workshops and training, meetings, and online projects. Much of our requests for genealogy and research come to us via email or our website; which keeps our Lead Researcher, Teresa, busy (and employed) as well. As the restrictions for Covid-19 in Nova Scotia have loosened, we have seen more foot traffic with researchers booking appointments to work on their own genealogy projects. Some people are starting new projects that they discovered or started during lock down. More time at home, offered time for people to spend with their families and tell family stories, reminisce and consider genealogy. Fingers crossed, that this is a good sign for the season ahead.
I have a couple of special projects up our sleeve for 2021, because it looks like there is no better time for change than there is right now. As the days get longer, I can only hope that our to-do lists get shorter so that we all can eventually reap the benefits of following the rules and keeping our head down to get the job done.
“Stay healthy! Be safe! “