An exterior view of the Montebello Block at R.J. Haney Heritage Village on Friday, March 10. -Image credit: Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer

Donations put Montebello Block’s goal in sight

Shuswap Rotary Club’s $25,000 brings total over the $1.5 million mark

A $25,000 donation from Shuswap Rotary has pushed the Montebello Museum fundraising campaign over the top of the $1.5 million mark.

This leaves another $250,000 to $300,000 needed to complete phase one of the biggest fund development campaign ever launched in January 2014 by the Salmon Arm Museum and Heritage Association at R.J. Haney Heritage Village.

The new Montebello Museum represents the defining structure that stood in the heart of Salmon Arm at the corner of Hudson and Alexander for almost 60 years. Phase one brings the whole building to occupancy.

On the outside, the new structure is meant to look like many historic Salmon Arm buildings, something that is being accomplished in the exterior finishings.

At the rear, the barn is actually the entrance to the archives storage, which will not be accessible to the public. The outer finishing is going up now and the little house that will be the entrance to the archives room is just about done, says village manager Susan Mackie.

On the front, Miss Puff’s Millinery is finished, as is the bank and McGuire General Store.

There are six more to go on the front – the telephone exchange, pharmacy, A.E. Palmer Butcher Shop, the barbershop/pool hall, the Salmon Arm Observer and the Lingford Photo studio.

“We are working on some of the dioramas and want to have McGuire General Store open and an exhibit in the museum gallery, which is a 2,500 square foot space in the core of the building,” says Mackie. “That’s probably going to be the story of the building of the Montebello Museum.”

Thrilled with the large donation from Shuswap Rotary, Mackie is also delighted by a $10,000 contribution from local fabric store owner Denise Green that will go towards finishing the interior of Miss Puff’s Milinery.

The push is on to get as many business interiors finished as possible for the Montebello Museum’s grand opening on July 9.

”We’ve got pieces of all the exhibits, part of the telephone exchange, part of Salmon Arm Observer,” says Mackie, noting there are nine dioramas (three-dimensional exhibits) and each one costs up to $20,000 to complete. ”We will have a storyboard and some pieces in each one and others will be complete for the grand opening.

Volunteers have been busy painting outside siding piece by piece in the inside of the museum and Mackie says R.J. Village and Museum president Norma Harisch “has literally touched every board,” says Mackie.

This year’s Heritage Week held at the Mall at Piccadilly in February brought in more than $50,000 thanks to the pioneer breakfast at Jane’s Place, the pie auction, pie-by-the-slice sales, silent auction and individual donations.

“We’re so excited, we had a fantastic Heritage Week; the live pie auction brought in $43,000 for 16 pies and one pie went for $5,250,” says Mackie. “It’s such a wonderful start to the season from my perspective, and it’s it’s a little humbling, the support we get from the community.”

Visits in the village increased by 11 per cent to 13,779 in 2016 and Mackie is prepping for another busy year ahead.

The village opens on May 10 and the first big event is High Tea from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 28.

This year’s really big show, will be the July 9 grand opening of Montebello Museum that will also be a celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday and the day to bury a time capsule.

In another fundraiser for the Montebello Museum, for $150, area residents are invited to purchase a package suggesting information to remain untouched for 25 years/

The project is not just intended for families who have been in Salmon Arm since early days but for everyone who wants to save or leave a legacy of memories.

The July 9 party to remember will also include old-fashioned games, a community band performance, a celebration of our pioneer heritage, breakfast, barbecue and cake – and more, says Mackie.

In her seventh season of managing the village, Mackie says she is looking forward to another great season.

“The village belongs to the community; we have parents who bring kids up to pan for gold, or walk the 2.5-kilometre nature trail that goes through four different climate zones,” Mackie raves. “iIf you’re out at the village, take a look, it’s a gem; it is the gem of Salmon Arm and it’s not to be missed.

For more information, to buy tickets to High Tea, or to donate, call 250-832-5243 or visit or visit their Facebook page.