In the July 10 edition of the Brandon Sun, there was an article entitled “BSD Weighs Museum Options.” It dealt with the ongoing talks about the future of the BJ Hales collection and whether it remains in Brandon or ends up in the International Peace Garden.
Comments by trustee Jim Murray that it should go to the Peace Garden cannot go unchallenged. His comments were extremely disappointing and demonstrate an absolute lack of interest and desire to have the BJ Hales collection, which has been part of Brandon’s history for more than 65 years, remain here.
His position is strange because one would think as a former board chair and a current trustee, he would recognize the value of having the collection stay in Brandon.
The Brandon General Museum and Archives has made a pitch to the BSD board for the collection. The space we have would allow us to display at least 50 per cent of the collection while switching out other items on a rotating basis. Allowing the BGMA to do this fits into our mandate and would make the display accessible to Brandonites, BSD students, and others from the surrounding areas.
Currently there is no access as this collection is boxed up and has been in storage in the basement of Earl Oxford School for at least four years. Less damage would be done having the collection here than handling it and then moving to the Peace Garden.
For the board to do as Mr. Murray suggests would result in Brandon and the surrounding area having to make a three-hour round trip to view this excellent collection. Having to travel to see this collection would also place added strain on BSD transportation resources should schools want to view this collection.
Mr. Murray to our knowledge has never been to the museum or called any BGMA board member to find out what we are about or to have questions answered.
As chair of the BGMA board, I believe the we can display this collection well by having it in our museum.
Finally, our fear is that if the BSD board were to follow through on what trustee Murray suggests, then the BJ Hales collection may well be to the BSD what the loss of the Prince Edward Hotel was to the Brandon City Council of the day.
Chair, Brandon General Museum
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 19, 2012