When Joan Dyke visited White Rock Museum & Archives with her daughter Nancy Riemersma Saturday, she planned to explore history, not make it.
But the latter is just what happened, after the pair were inadvertently locked inside the 14970 Marine Dr. facility for nearly two hours.
“It’s not something that has ever happened before in the history of the museum,” executive director Sharon Oldaker said Tuesday. “Obviously, we’ll be reviewing our policies and will be discussing procedures with our staff.”
Dyke and Riemersma told Peace Arch News they discovered their predicament shortly after 5 p.m. Sept. 3, when they pushed open the door that connects the museum gallery to the lobby, and the alarm went off. The museum – which last month celebrated a launch after remodelling – closed at 5 p.m.
No one had come around to warn them the facility was closing, and the lights were never turned off, they said.
Efforts to alert someone to the problem proved frustrating, they added. Riemersma made multiple calls – to the police, the fire department and eventually the security company itself – before anyone came to their rescue, around 7 p.m.
The wait was long enough that Dyke, who is a senior, said she eventually had to move some of the displays a bit so she could sit.
“I was getting so tired of standing up.”
Oldaker said museum policy calls for a sweep of the facility to ensure all the doors are locked and everyone is out before the building is locked up for the night. The day in question, there was one staff member and one volunteer on duty, she said.
The staff member “is at a loss” to explain what happened.
“Evidently, they (the visitors) were somehow overlooked,” Oldaker said. “I have spoken with her and we’re reviewing the whole policy with all of our staff.
“We offer our apologies to the ladies and certainly wish it hadn’t happened.”
Dyke said she has no plans to make a formal complaint. But she wouldn’t want to see anyone else repeat the experience.
“It was upsetting. I know these things do happen, but I thought it was very irresponsible… totally unacceptable. I hope somebody learns from this.”
“I can’t blame anybody in particular, and I have nothing negative to say,” she said. “Obviously, there’s a few weak links in the chain that need to be addressed.”