Area museum volunteer recognized for his work


  • <p>CONTRIBUTED PHOTO</p><p>Doug Berrigan, a dedicated volunteer and president of the LaHave Islands Marine Museum Society, recently won the Award of Excellence in Museum Practices honour for his work with the museum where he has volunteered for the past 24 years.</p>

LAHAVE - Doug Berrigan has put in countless volunteer hours at the LaHave Island Marine Museum over the past 24 years and he was recently recognized for his efforts.

Berrigan, also the president of the museum society, received an Award of Excellence in Museum Practices at the Association of Nova Scotia Museums (ANSM) annual conference in Baddeck recently.

His nomination, completed by volunteer curator, Kathy Sullivan includes: "Doug's commitment to the community is legendary. To say he goes above and beyond to engage island residents is an understatement. Over the 12 months between June 2022 and June 2023, Doug loggeed more than 700 volunteer hours."

Some of his time includes engaging residents and visitors in unique ways including the initiation of a weekly summer coffee house which has become known as "the Tim Hortons of the Islands," and organizing ice cream socials where people can help grind their own ice cream. He also does so much more from cleaning the outhouse to painting...whatever needs to be done.

"It was shocking when I got the call. That's the only word I can use to describe it," he said, sharing his thoughts on the win. "I didn't think my nomination had a chance given the fact that there's obviously nominations coming from a lot of big museums and us, being volunteer-operated, small and seasonal...I guess, Kathy just put together a good case."

Berrigan grew up on Bell Island and attend the one-room school until the age of 12 in 1956, when they moved off the island. After school, he left Nova Scotia to pursue a career with RBC where he worked as an administrator, in training and in Human Resources for the past 36 years. He moved back to the area more than two decades ago from Toronto, landing in Mount Pleasant.

Soon after his return to the area, he answered the call from the museum who was looking for someone with a financial background, but also he loves meeting new people and he was at the museum each day, greeting visitors and doing work that needed to be done.

However, he is ready to hang up his president's hat, recently announcing his decision to step down to the board. His tenure will come to an end next October that marks his 25th year, which also coincides with his 80th birthday.

"It was a lot of work, but I really enjoyed it," he commented.

He did ad, that he will remain with the board to work on the administrative side of things to help out.

Each year, ANSM presents two awards for Excellence in Museum Practices. One to an individual and one to an organization, who have gone above and beyond in making a significant contribution to the museum field. Recipients of these awards have made remarkable efforts to increase knowledge about Nova Scotia's natural history and heritage through exemplary museum practices.

"The award is also good for the museum which is so small. To get this kind of award and this kind of publicity is good," he said.

The recipient of the 2023 organization award went to The Museum of Industry in Stellarton for its exhibit, "Hockey: Whose Game Is It."

The Association of Nova Scotia Museums (ANSM) is a vibrant not-for-profit organization led by our members. ANSM is national leader in the museum community that collaborates with many and diverse partners to provide relevant and engaging services that strengthen museums.

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