By David F. Rooney
The Revelstoke Heritage Railway Society — the body that operates the Railway Museum — is chugging its way into the future with a new strategic plan.
A draft of the plan, developed by Nicole Fricot & Associates, was unveiled at the society’s recent Annual General Meeting. It identifies seven key challenges and six strategic action areas.
The challenges are:
- Human resource capacity — Current commitments are already straining staff and volunteer capacity to the point where any increase in programming will be very difficult without human resources.
- Volunteer development — The society’s ability to meet its commitments relies heavily on volunteers many of whom are older men and women. Attracting new (and younger) volunteers may become more difficult.
- Sustained funding — Funding and grant opportunities or arts and culture continues to be scarce.
- Changing demographics — More tourism opportunities makes it increasingly difficult to draw and grow visitorship at the museum. Attracting new demographics will be difficult without significant and well-targeted marketing efforts.
- Technology adoption — Ongoing changes to technology makes it increasingly difficult to compete. New technology can be costly.
- Accessibility — Not all areas of the museum are wheelchair accessible. Making it 100% accessible will require an investment in technology that is likely to be expensive.
- Partnership management — The Last Spike at Craigellachie is managed by several different partners. Ensuring visitor satisfaction requires significant relationship management.
The six “strategic action areas” are intended to help the society and Executive Director Jennifer Dunkerson to sharpen their focus on the museum’s continued development. They are:
- Ensuring human capacity planning by creating a human resource plan to determine its current and future human resource needs, including employees, short-term contractors and volunteers.
- Ensuring the society’s sustainability so that it “has the leadership, financial resources and partnerships necessary to meet it mission and… provide services to its membership.
- Ensuring continued high standards of museology. This means continuing to collect, preserve, refurbish and refresh the museum’s exhibits and artifacts at the museum and at the Last Spike. It also includes the creation and display of new exhibits on a regular basis.
- Ensuring the continued high standard of museum facilities. This includes continued upkeep and maintenance of both the museum and the Last Spike.
- Ensuring on-going development of key programs and events. Museum staff require adequate funding and other resources to continue developing high-quality programs and events that meet the needs of society members and visitors to the museum and the Last Spike.
- Ensuring that the museum has adequate and appropriate marketing. The society needs to develop an effective marketing plan that also touches on branding, logo usage, high-quality print- and web-based products.
Society President Dean Handley told members at the AGM that the museum has been holding its own since the Great Recession but it no longer attracts 25,000 people a year as it used to. The plan may go a long way alleviating concerns about its viability.
Here are a few photos from the recent AGM: