Stratford Perth Museum regroups after golf cart stolen.

It’s been a tough stretch for the Stratford Perth Museum.

Canada Helps Link

Stratford Perth Museum General Manager Kelly McIntosh will have to find another golf cart after the museum’s was stolen from its shed this week. (Cory Smith/Beacon Herald)

It’s been a tough stretch for the Stratford Perth Museum.

The not-for-profit association had its golf cart stolen some time between 5 p.m. on May 21 and shortly before 9 a.m. on May 22. That’s when general manager Kelly McIntosh arrived for work and noticed the shed doors were left open.

McIntosh figured it was volunteers currently rebuilding the museum’s front porch, or even someone from Here for Now Theatre that just relocated its tent on the museum’s property on the outskirts of Stratford.

“There was a lot going on,” McIntosh said.

After some investigation, the general manager not only realized that the cart – off-white with a white seat and ’10 EZGO 64′ on the front – had been stolen, but the museum’s security system didn’t work and also needs to be replaced.

“It’s been a lot,” she said, “but these things happen, and maybe they happen for a reason. I’ve got a better understanding of the upgrades that need to happen here and the unbelievable reaction from the community wanting to help he museum.”

News of the theft was shared widely on social media, and many offered to help pay for a new cart or even search with a drone for the missing one, which the museum bought from longtime supporters last year.

Thieves also took two large trailers that hooked to the cart, but those were recovered in the bush behind the museum. Tracks from the stolen cart led to Highway 8.

“I do think whoever took the golf cart saw an opportunity and wasn’t thinking about the museum,” McIntosh said. “They were thinking about themselves.”

The cart is often used for accessibility purposes, McIntosh said, whether it’s for the museum or the theatre.

“It’s a convenient and fun thing to have, but it points towards this museum and those trails being beautiful and accessibility and a fun place to be, and I struggled with asking the community for money.”

The museum is hoping to at least recoup the cash it invested in the cart. Second-hand carts are available for between $5,000 and $10,000, McIntosh said, and a new security system will likely cost “in the thousands.”

“Everyone’s operational expenses have gone up significantly,” McIntosh said. “Non-profits have to really deliver content and stories that matter. It’s too bad we don’t have a golf cart, but even recouping the money we spent is important. Then we look at do we get a golf cart or a boardwalk path so people can get to the hideaway (which is turning into a gathering space) or lighting trails.

“We know there are so many things people need at the moment, so we don’t want to ask people for something that isn’t significant, but accessibility is.”

If anything, the recent bad luck has shown McIntosh, who took over the job last year, how much people care about the museum. There are more than 50 volunteers and others who help with in-kind donations that keep the museum running, plus the online support.

“People really, really care about the museum,” she said. “It was a salve for our hearts because it really sucked and was a terrible feeling when it happened.”

To donate to the museum, visit stratfordperthmuseum.ca and click on the ‘donate’ heart link at the top of the page.

 

Cory Smith
Stratford Beacon Herald May 31, 2024