Community engagement sessions at Lincoln Museum

By Tristan Marks
For NewsNow

Lincoln residents had a chance to get a sneak peek at the new initiatives
coming their way in the tourism sector last Wednesday.

The Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre’s interim location in Beamsville hosted two different community engagement sessions simultaneously: one for Lincoln’s Tourism, Gateways & Signage Strategy and the other for the Lincoln Museum & Cultural Centre Strategic Plan.

The first event explained the themes and direction of Lincoln’s upcoming tourism strategy, which is slated to be finalized as a five-year plan in February 2020.

This comes after the town passed its economic strategy, which identified tourism as an economic pillar.

Representatives from Lincoln’s economic development department began reaching out to various stakeholders in the community’s tourism industry in May.

Already, the Town has identified a number of key points that will go into its strategy.

“We want to focus on the quality of tourists over mass tourism,” said Paul Di Ianni, economic development officer for the Town of Lincoln.

He added that initial talks found that stakeholders from wineries to historical sites and beyond preferred to cater to tourists who want a more in-depth experience.

“They don’t want the bus loads of tourists, because they don’t get the full experience.”

Another important aspect of the tourism strategy will be collaboration.

This includes both collaboration with members of the tourism industry within Lincoln, as well as with tourism strategies in neighbouring municipalities like St. Catharines.

“Tourists don’t care about borders between towns,” explained Di Ianni.

“We’re stronger if we can push various groups together,” said Coun. Paul MacPherson, who was present that evening.

The strategy will also address how the Town can upgrade its signage and way-finding tools as part of the overall strategy. Included in the
various suggests are proposals for upgrading the municipal sign on the highway and installing colour-coded signage throughout the municipality to help tourists navigate.

Di Ianni said that this aspect of strategy is dependent on collaboration with the regional government, which is conducting its own research into a signage strategy in the upcoming year. Di Ianni will be presenting the outline for the Tourism Strategy to council on Wednesday, Nov. 20.

During the same night, the Lincoln Museum was hosting a community engagement session of it own.

At the presentation, museum staff showed blueprints of the new 4,200 sq. ft. building and highlighted possible programming.

The building is estimated to be completed sometime in late August 2020. It will have three main rooms for exhibition space, and an entire basement given over to storing and curating artifacts.

The museum is primarily looking for new opportunities for joint-programming with Lincoln’s various community groups, explained Sylvia Beben, the museum’s cultural programmer.

“We’re going out into the community and we want to see new partnerships,” she explained. She said this could take the form of art exhibitions, special programming spaces and more.

She also said that the museum was looking to host a children’s space that could be filled with “engaging, hands-on” programming.

Beben said that construction for the building was delayed due to the historic nature of the site.

“We had a stage four archeological assessment on the site,” she said, adding that over 900 different artifacts were uncovered by archaeologists.

“We have the dig artifacts now, and we’re hoping to display them as one of the first exhibits in our new home.”

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