Sesquicentennial celebrations and new programs, but less revenue according to Galt Museum 2017 Report

By Lara Fominoff @LaraFominoff on Twitter
May 30, 2018 - 1:29pm

LETHBRIDGE - "It was a year of celebration." Galt Museum and Archives CEO and Executive Director Susan Burrows-Johnson says 2017 marked several milestones for the museum and Fort Whoop-Up.

"We did lots of celebrating around the sesquicentennial [150 year anniversary] with the unveiling of the Galt statues. But we also... celebrated the Fort's 50th birthday, we had the First Nations of Japan come and visit the Blackfoot people at the Fort...we celebrated the twinning of St. Laurent."

At Monday's council meeting, Burrows-Johnson delivered the organization's annual report and performance indicator.

It shows that the number of visitors to the museum and archives was up slightly from 2016's 47,055 to 47,088 in 2017.

Visits to Fort Whoop-Up however increased 66 per cent from 4,954 in 2016 to 8,449 last year.

Online visits dropped drastically from 45,643 to 31,116 because Burrows-Johnson says the analytics source was changed.

The number of public programs offered at the museum rose from 165 in 2016 to 207 last year, while the number of participants overall also went up from 8,893 to 10,358. It's something that Burrows-Johnson says they're particularly proud of, especially the new indigenous history program.

"Working with our Blackfoot colleagues in this community to help people understand the real history of this area, with the Blackfoot people before contact, what happened. And then moving forward in time...and we'll continue that. The staff are extremely creative and continue to try and find interesting ways to try and understand local history."

The number of volunteers at the museum has remained steady over the last several years, hovering around 270, however they're putting more time in than in previous years.

Items donated, and collection offers were down, along with archives requests, but the donations, grants and/or gifts-in-kind went up from $126,440 in 2016 to $136,073 in 2017.

The number of pass holders is also steadily rising, from 561 in 2013, to 623 last year.

The museum's store and facility rental were down slightly, bringing in nearly $205,000 in 2016, but only $202,340 in 2017, while net revenue was down significantly, from a high of $26,000 in 2015 to $13,219 in 2016 and just $9,653 in 2017. 

Burrows-Johnson says wedding bookings used to play an integral role in generating revenue, however over the last couple of years, fewer people have been choosing the museum as a venue.

According to the report, most of the visitors to the Galt Museum and Archives and Fort Whoop-Up are from Alberta (62 per cent), while 20 per cent are from other areas of the country, 10 per cent are from countries other than the U.S., while 8 per cent are from the United States.

23,000 people visited the Galt Museum last year, with 13,000 of those being students and nearly 60 per cent of the visitors were from Lethbridge.

Nearly 80 per cent of the revenue for the museum and fort comes from the City of Lethbridge, while 69 per cent of all revenue generated goes to wages, with 18 per cent for services, 9 per cent for materials and 4 per cent for IT and bussing.

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