Bittersweet goodbye for Penticton Museum curator

Peter Ord, the curator and manger of the Penticton Museum, has accepted a position with the Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria.

Manager/curator Peter Ord of the Penticton of the Penticton Museum and Archives is leaving his position after nearly 10 years at the beginning of October to take a new job at the Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria.

All good things must come to an end.

Peter Ord, the curator and manger of the Penticton Museum, has accepted a position as vice-president of archives, collections and knowledge with the Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria.

“I really love this community and I’ll miss Naramata,” said Ord. “It’s a real bittersweet feeling. I’ll miss watching my kids grow up in Naramata.

His final day at the Penticton Museum is Oct. 2, and he’ll be starting his new position on Oct. 6.

The move marks the close of nearly a 10-year relationship with the museum which began when Ord first moved the area and did contract work under the previous curator, Randy Manuel for about a year and a half. When Manuel retired from the museum, Ord was hired on a permanent basis.

In addition to the appreciation he’s got from people in the community for all of their support during his tenure, Ord recalled a couple of the projects he completed with the help of museum staff and volunteers.

“Getting the archives accredited was probably one of my proudest moments,” he said. “There’s standards for archival management the museums need to achieve in order to get funding. We went through and organized about a five-year plan, and to meet that was great.”

In 2009 the museum installed Vroom: The Magic of Motorcycles exhibit which examined the motorcycle and its place in society, as well as the technology, design and culture that exists with enthusiasts. One of the motorcycles Ord recalled being on display was a Goldammer cycle designed and built by Canadian Roger Goldammer and valued at $1.2 million.

“It was a great exhibit,” he said. “It brought out a variety of people to the museum that might not normally come here. I remember parents bringing their kids here and grandfathers coming in with their grandchildren. It was nice to see.”

Looking back, Ord is pleased at some of the work that he completed such as updating space in the building and the creation of a temporary gallery space. He credited Penticton city staff and city council for making a commitment to keeping the museum in the same place.

“There had been talk of moving it to another location and that’s difficult to be around for everyone,” he said. “I think there’s now a dedication to the museum staying here with the library and that’s good.”

While his replacement is sought, Ord said the current staff and contract workers are more than capable of ensuring the smooth operations of the facility. Finding the right person, and someone who will be a good fit for the community, is most important.

Ord said it’s not uncommon for a curator to remain at a museum for more than 10 years, so the time is right for a change.

“It provides a new energy, a new motivation and keeps things fresh,” he said.

As he reflects on a new beginning for him and his family, there’s one element he’d like to see continue at the museum, and that’s an innovative and efficient use of space.

“There’s always a temptation for doing things bigger and better,” said Ord. “I think it’s important we use what we have, and we use it properly.”

As Ord prepares to part ways with the museum, he noted a pair of upcoming events: the first is the Steamfest Regatta on Sept. 20 to 21, which recognizes a century of steam power in the South Okanagan, and the B.C. Museum Conference from Oct. 22 to 25 at the Penticton Lakeside Resort.