Cortes Museum

How the Cortes Museum weathered the pandemic

Managing Director Jane Newman explains how the Cortes Museum weathered the pandemic, financially.

Photo courtesy Cortes Island Museum and Archives

A two month summer season

“It’s been an interesting and challenging year. We closed in mid March and then were fortunate to reopen for July and August,”she explained. 

The Cortes Museum is normally open Tuesdays to Sundays for four months during the ‘Summer’ season.

“We would normally open by at least mid June and until mid September. This year … even though the directive is coming from the government in British Columbia, that we as a museum could potentially open in early June, it just seem like it was the right timing for us. It took a lot of preparation to open with a very solid safety plan and all the protocols in place,” said Newman. 

Consequently, visitations were down about 50% and donations about 75%.

“We didn’t have [the] donations, we didn’t have  our fund raising events, we didn’t even have membership renewals because there was no AGM,” said Newman.  

Government Agencies stepped up

Luckily, the museum receives funding from the BC Arts Council, BC Gaming, Department of Heritage and Canada Summer jobs.  They provided the funding that the museum normally obtains through its normal fundraising efforts.


Those government agencies have not made any commitment to continue supporting the museum in 2021. 

Newman added, “We feel that the funding that came through as emergency relief funding may have to carry us through 2021 as well. So we’re being very frugal and looking very conservatively at how we might offer programming.”

The Cortes Island Museum and Archives (CIMAS) is currently open Friday and Saturday afternoons, as is normal during the Fall, Winter and Spring seasons. 

This program was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative