Boundary Museum turns to city council for direction

Mona Mattei
By Mona Mattei
January 28th, 2011

Relations between two local cultural organizations continue to be strained as the Boundary Museum Society looks to city council for direction. The museum asked in a letter to come before council on Jan. 31 to discuss options for the storage of their archives that were displaced since the Grand Forks Art Gallery Society made a decision not to continue housing them within the heritage courthouse.  In December both the art gallery and the museum met with Grand Forks city council to discuss the future of their funding agreements with the city. The societies were asked to meet and to come back to council with suggestions about how they can work together as well as presenting their respective budgets.  Since then the Museum board has been unable to meet with the Gallery and have asked council to discuss options, reported Councillor Christine Thompson, council liaison to the museum. Thompson asked for direction from council at their Jan. 17 meeting.  “It is my understanding that Mr. Morton (Gallery board president) advised the (museum) society there was no desire on the part of the Art Gallery society to meet,” said Thompson. “This is spite of council’s request that they have a meeting and come back to council with realistic budgets and respective scopes of work as identified in the Dec. 20 special meeting minutes. I am certain (the society) will be looking to me for council’s direction in this regard.”  Thompson expressed her dismay at the lack of the two organizations to be able to be more co-operative about their work in the community.  “I don’t see a willingness on the part of the art gallery society to enlist the Boundary Museum Society and I think that’s most unfortunate,” said Thompson.  City council, however, was reluctant to wade into the middle of the two organizations. Councillor Chris Moslin suggested that it would be inappropriate for the city to intervene or force relations.  “I share the regret that there couldn’t be more cooperation between the two societies. But on the other hand, that’s all I can do,” said Moslin. “I don’t want to get in there. If we start making rules about how the two societies should deal with each other we are going to end up with mud on our faces. Unfortunately, I think we just have to stand up and say, come on get along, but we can’t get in there.”

Moslin suggested that the museum society re-approach the gallery and try to sort things out. Taylor redirected the council that they should wait until they hear directly from the museum to decide on any actions. At council’s next meeting they will hear from the Boundary Museum directly about their needs.