On May 20
An official ground breaking ceremony for the renovations to the new permanent location for the Hemmingford Historical Archives took place on May 20. The massive project to renovate the former St-Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Hall on Champlain Avenue is expected to be completed this fall with a grand opening event as soon as the facility is ready for visitors.
Under sunny skies, and in the presence of Mr. Drew Sommerville and Mr. Paul Viau, the Mayors of Hemmingford Village and County, as well as Mr. Gilles Bigras, the political attaché for Huntingdon MNA Stephane Billette, the Hemmingford Historical Archives marked the second phase of their project.
Already, the existing partitions and utilities inside the building have been removed and the ground behind the Quonset is being prepared for the construction of a new addition that will serve as storage for the collections. As far as possible, the work will be completed with local contractors, under the expert supervision of Mr. Leonard Priest, who is also a member of the Board of Directors.
"The new archives will present a pleasant face in the Hemmingford streetscape," says Mary Ducharme, the President of the Hemmingford Historical Archives. "The interior will provide space for family and regional historians to access data including thousands of files. As well, the plan includes space for exhibitions, public events and activities on a wide range of historical themes of interest not only in the Hemmingford community specifically, but to the region," she added, while noting this will also include those from across the border with interests in local history.
In order to complete the estimated $188,000 project, the Hemmingford Archives have benefitted from substantial support from all levels of government. The federal Department of Canadian Heritage provided $94,250 through the Canada Cultural Space Fund, the provincial Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Regions and Land Occupancy contributed $40,000 through the Quebec Fonds Conjoncturel de Développement, and the two Hemmingford municipalities committed $54,250.
A fundraising campaign is ongoing as the grants do not cover all of the necessary expenditures, including furnishings. "Our general membership has grown substantially in the last year, and many are involved with local fundraising," notes Ms. Ducharme, who is quick to salute the many talented people who have worked for over 25 years to keep the organization alive "because they share a belief that the lives of those who came before do matter."