Leaking roof prompts fundraiser for downtown museum

Jim and Allison Richards, owners of Stones n’ Bones museum. Troy Shantz

Troy Shantz

A Sarnia museum is looking for support from the community to help cover the costs of roof repairs.

Tarps and buckets are laid out nightly at Stones n’ Bones museum due to two separate roof leaks, says curator and owner Jim Richards.

He said the museum’s 6,000 artifacts are safe for now, but second floor roof tiles and carpet haven’t been so lucky.

“We’ve had to replace ceiling tiles twice, and also the insulation that goes above it, because you don’t want mould,” said Richards, 78.

A Go Fund Me campaign was set-up last month to help cover the costs, which contractors estimate at $80,000, Richards said.

Three temporary repairs were completed in the last year at the downtown Sarnia attraction, says Richards. The leaks are blamed on rotting platforms below the museum’s four air conditioners.

“If we can’t get enough money to do the whole roof, we’ll see if we can get them to do half,” said Richards, noting the air conditioners should also be replaced while the job is underway.

Located at 233 Christina St. North, Stones ‘n Bones is a labour of love for Richards and his wife Allison. They opened the not-for-profit museum inside the Bayside Mall in 1994 before relocating to their current location in 2001.

Thirteen exhibits are on display at the 10,000 square foot space, showing taxidermied animals, skeletons, fossils and thousands of insect, arachnid and butterfly specimens.

“We even have things from Mars… where do you get stuff like that? We’re just lucky,” said Richards with a laugh.

According to travel website Trip Advisor, Stones n’ Bones is listed as the 8th most popular speciality museum in Canada. Richards often offers guests a hands-on tour, earning the museum high praise from reviewers.

“The fun part is to see the look on people’s faces when they go upstairs, because from the front of the building it doesn’t look very large.”

To contribute to the fundraiser visit https://ca.gofundme.com/f/stonesnbonesisleaking