CBC News Posted: Jul 23, 2016 1:13 PM CT Last Updated: Jul 23, 2016 1:13 PM CT

 

When a small rural museum closes Canada loses a window into the country's pioneering past, according to a new documentary that's exploring how rural museums struggle to stay open.

 

The film “End of Our Memories” was directed by Andy Blicq and produced by Huw Eirug.

It premiered at the Gimli Film Festival on Saturday showcasing the passion and determination of the volunteers attempting to keep the small museums going and the heartbreak when that isn't enough.

 

"Many of [the museums] are struggling. It's a result of changing times. They are having a difficulty finding volunteers and keeping their doors open," Blicq said.

 

"These museums, they receive a little bit of funding by the province, but they are run by volunteers, and the volunteers are getting older and the young people aren't volunteering in the same way that perhaps their parents and their grandparents did."

 

The change in rural museums is a reflection of changing times in the larger society, Blicq explained.

 

"The rural population is declining, it's aging, and this is why this story is so important," he said. "I think that it reflects the way life is changing in many places in rural Canada."

 

Beyond old pots and pans, the museums are a repository for objects and memories for a community, Blicq said. It's also a place where local stories are told and where people can come from within the community or while visiting to see how it was founded.

 

"When an elder passes away, they will donate pictures and artifacts and when the museum closes in some ways those memories are extinguished for that community," he said.

 

Many of the subjects of the documentary broke into tears during filming, showing how important the little museums can be to the people of the community.

 

"These objects, these museums are terribly important to them because really it's their parents and grandparents whose stories are told there," he said.  Blicq said he hopes the film helps people recognize that Canada's connection to the pioneer life is fading away and with that losing an essential part of the country's identity.

This 25 minute video is available for viewing

upon request at the museum