New museum director sees potential here

New Kelowna Museums
New Kelowna Museums' executive-director Lesley Moore is shown a portion of the current exhibit, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, on weddings, by retiring director Wayne Wilson.
— image credit: Doug Farrow/contributor

With just two days under her belt as the new executive-director of the Kelowna Museums Society, Lesley Moore admits her brain was buzzing after her first day, but she says after working in downtown Vancouver, it’s very relaxing to drive into work in downtown Kelowna.

She says she loves the Okanagan and its landscape and has felt a pull to this area, after being a regular visitor for the past 25 years or so.

She says she has watched the growth in the Kelowna Museums as she worked in the heritage field in different parts of B.C. and is impressed with its strong connection to the community.

“Museums are about the stories, the memories and the future of a community,” she commented.

She likes to see events that tie the exhibits to groups in the community and tell unique stories.

For instance, she pointed to the fact the Kelowna Museum is staging a play called Mary’s Wedding, which ties in to the current wedding exhibit called Something Borrowed, Something Blue, as well as to the Military Museum, because it’s set in wartime.

It’s a Canadian play  being produced by Shoreline Theatre in the Laurel Packinghouse June 20 to July 1.

She sees lots of “wonderful potential” in the Kelowna Museums, and says there is much going on behind the scenes in the evolution of museums currently.

For instance, virtual museums are evolving. They are like a parallel world, but one can’t exist without the other, she noted.

As well, she said, “I’m fascinated by an interactive kiosk where you could do research or share information. It’s a new idea. We’re in an electronic world.”

Such innovations magnify a museum’s resources, she added.

The historic Laurel Packinghouse, which was recently restored and which houses the B.C. Wine Museum, the Orchard Industry Museum and a VQA wine shop which raises funds for the museum society, has tremendous potential, she feels.

“There’s no limit to the kinds of things a museum can foster, be part of, and offer,” she says.

Most recently, she was senior cultural analyst with the federal Department of Canadian Heritage in Vancouver, but prior to that she worked in a variety of positions, including as curator of archaeology, curator of a golf museum, as director of a municipal museum and manager of a heritage village. She has an M.A. in material culture studies as well as formal training at the UBC Museum of Anthropology.

She steps into the position being vacated by Wayne Wilson, who is retiring after 35 years working for the museum society.

For the next few weeks, Wilson says he will be discussing budgets, facilities, staffing and programs with the new executive-director, as he shows her the physical facilities and goes over the nuts and bolts of the operation.

“We’ve worked hard to imbed ourselves in the community,” he commented, so there are many partnerships with such groups as the wine industry, the orchard industry, the Westbank First Nations and many other organizations and interest groups.

Moore says she feels very welcome here and looks forward to meeting the community in the coming months.


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