Nontraditional Events in Heritage Spaces

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a concert as part of Bon Soo (think Winterfest on a Northern Ontario scale).  The concert featured two great traditional music groups, Dentdelion and Les Poules à Colin.  The music was a great display of traditional music heritage and the preservation of Canadian francophone culture.

In addition the concert being an example of the preservation of traditional music, the concert was held at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre and was a great example of a heritage organization using its facility to move beyond internal display space.  Granted, February might not be the best time of year to host an event in an airplane hanger — most of the audience kept their coats on throughout the evening. But, events such as this highlight the efforts the Bushplane has undertaken to become known as a flexible conference, wedding and event venue in Sault Ste Marie. In the past few years the Bushplane has hosted bridal shows, conferences, a stroller fitness program, a beer festival and countless other events.

During intermission at last week’s concert, attendees were welcome to wonder amongst the planes displayed in the main portion of the Centre’s hanger. I over heard one attendee remark, “I had no idea planes were so big” and the few children who were in attendance seemed in awe of the space.  Despite having lived in the area for three years and having a love history, I had never set foot inside the Bushplane prior to the concert.  Events such as concerts have the ability to introduce new people to a museums and inspire interest in a facility that some people might never have entered otherwise. 

Facility rentals also have the potential to be great sources of additional revenue for heritage organizations.  In the case of the Bushplane they have invested money in tables, chairs and linens to make their space more appealing and to facilitate a rental package.  Clearly, a venue such as an airplane hanger has a few more space options than a small house museum.  But, even smaller museums can be used for wedding photos or meetings.  Multipurpose spaces provide heritage organizations with flexibility in display, rentals, and outreach activities.

What nontraditional events have you attended or organized in a museum space?

Photo credit: dblackadder

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