The expansion project expects to double attendance from 4,000 to 8,000 visitors annually, including a doubling of student numbers from 1,000 to 2,000.
The Shawnigan Lake Museum is known for its collection of E.J. Hughes original drawings and paintings and its Kinsol Trestle display. The facility attracts visitors from Vancouver Island and beyond who stop there to view its unique exhibits.
The Museum is a gateway to tourism in the South Cowichan region and plays a role in promoting the area’s tourism assets. It has become a cornerstone of the Shawnigan Lake community and a number of community events are organized and supported by the Museum.
The current challenge facing the Museum is its lack of physical space, which has limited operations and services. Accessibility, exhibit space, programming, events, public access to records, collections management and volunteer participation are all restricted by the building’s existing size. As a result, not all of Hughes’ work can be on display and a lack of amenities and space to gather large groups has limited the capacity to expand Museum services.
The project will triple the Museum’s floorplan by adding another 3900 square feet to the current building’s 2121 square feet. In doing so, the work will improve the visitor experience with new exhibits and cultural programming, attract new local and regional events and serve as a community gathering place.
Project works include the new exhibits (E.J. Hughes collection, Kinsol Trestle display and a new Cowichan Tribes Exhibit); a larger gift shop; a 900 square foot multi-purpose room; an archives and research space; a 200 square feet community living room; and a new lobby and reception area with public washrooms.