Hay River Museum Society gets new chairperson

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Tom Lakusta is the new chairperson of the Hay River Museum Society.

Lakusta was chosen to lead the organization by the new board of directors elected at an annual general meeting on April 28. The board met immediately after the AGM to select an executive.

Tom Lakusta is the new chairperson of the Hay River Museum Society. NNSL file photo

Lakusta had been the society’s secretary for a couple of years.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with the people that are interested in the museum in Hay River,” he said. “Hay River has a unique history and this museum is a unique museum, and it’s really exciting to be involved with this.”

His goals as chairperson include keeping the society moving forward in a stable manner, including continuing to offer popular events and looking for new ones at the Hay River Heritage Centre, which is expected to reopen for the season in mid-May.

The other members of the 2018 executive are vice-chairperson Linda Carter, treasurer Myrtle Graham and secretary Sheila Cook.

The others on the eight-member board are Judy West-Pratt, Bonnie Crowther, Vicky Latour and Terry Tregidgo.

Lakusta replaces Brad Mapes as chairperson.

“He was amazing, energetic and brought really great ideas to the museum and he’s going to be missed,” said Lakusta of the former president.

Mapes – also the mayor of Hay River – had been chairperson for several years.

“I just stepped away to save some of my time, and I look forward to Tom and the rest of the board to continue the work at the museum,” he said.

Lakusta noted three resolutions were passed at the annual general meeting, which was attended by about 12 people.

One resolution deals with membership in the society.

“It makes it easier for people in Hay River that want to be involved in the museum to become members,” said Lakusta, who noted he wouldn’t be surprised if the number of members goes up in the future.

The membership change allows a person to walk into an AGM and become a member, or to talk to a board member, who can bring a membership request to a board meeting.

That change and all changes called for in resolutions need to get approved by the Corporate Registry.

The former rules made it difficult to become a member, said Lakusta. “The membership rules were a little vague in regards to how we did it. So essentially if you showed up to the AGM you could become a member and that would then move you forward. Anything else became a little bit tricky.”

Another resolution involved a formal collections policy, which the museum did not previously have.

“So this summer we’ll begin implementing that and moving forward on our collections, and just improving the way we catalogue and deal with all the very valuable and wonderful things we have at the museum,” said Lakusta.

The collections policy talks about the mission of the museum, how to document items in the collection, how to loan items out, how to bring new items in, and how to remove items from the collection.

A third resolution calls for board members – currently elected for one year – to have the opportunity to serve for two years.

“What we wanted to do was get the opportunity for up to half of the board members to stay for a second year so that we can create some continuity between years and boards,” said Lakusta.

That change will come into effect at the next AGM when up to half of the directors will be given the opportunity to stay for a second year.