Yesterday the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre hosted the second annual holiday gift and craft show. Held inside the museum the show featured over 100 local craft and artisan vendors. This was my first time attending the show, it was a great way to spend a couple of hours on a rainy Saturday.
The event brought hundreds of vendors and local residents into a heritage site. Walking through the craft show I was struck by the contrast of the permanent displays (eg. large airplanes everywhere) with tables setup for the vendors. It was interesting to see the space being so well utilized for a public event and great to see a local heritage site supporting local artists. The event’s location also made the craft show a bit more child friendly – I saw a number of children eagerly climbing into and enjoying many of the bushplanes on display as their parents took in the crafts.
Additionally, admission to the craft show was by donation and all donations went toward the Bushplane operating costs. I’ve now been to a couple of larger non-heritage related events at the Bushplane. The space is often used for concerts, weddings, community fundraising activities, and other activities. The space is essentially a large airplane hanger with a large open floor space making it a large venue with lots of capacity and potential for community events.
The revenue model of using heritage spaces as event spaces definitely isn’t unique to the Bushplane. But it is one of the more prominent and successful examples in my community. Hosting community events at heritage and cultural sites have the potential to bring in extra revenue, expose the general public to the site, and raise the community profile of a site.
The holiday season brings a wealth of opportunities for heritage sites — Christmas parties, craft shows, and special holiday programming using the site. What innovate community uses of heritage sites have you seen recently?