By Amy Fendley A $20,000 grant from the RMOW is allowing the Whistler Museum and Archives Society to increase its hours, enhance communications and stuff more birds. Last year the museum was open two days a week in the winter. But with the financial assistance provided by the grant, the museum’s winter operating hours will double, which seems only practical considering that the number of visitors to the museum is up 16 per cent over last year. Janet Love Morrison, museum manager, says that funding from the RMOW has given the museum opportunity to spend more money where it is needed, without taking a toll on the non-profit society’s budget. Operational costs will be covered by an allotted $12,000, an amount which Love Morrison says will "take care of wages and pay the bills. "We just got a brand new fax machine, are doubling our hours of operation and are able to spend a little more money on displays," she said. "What this is really doing is allowing us to empower our exhibits." A new display by AWARE, featuring song birds, birds of prey and small mammals all found locally, should be completed by the end of the month. Funding for this display was independently provided by AWARE, which is still looking for a sponsor to reimburse them the $4,000 cost of building the display and to fund another $1,000 to help install a humidifier and pay the taxidermist. And improvements to the Whistler Museum could finally be getting noticed. Love Morrison said that a visiting member from the West Vancouver Museum had commented that she "liked how everything wasn’t under glass, giving the museum an atmosphere that wasn’t sterile." Promotional letters regarding the museum’s historic tours have been sent out to 50 tour companies in the Lower Mainland and Whistler, in hopes of creating "historical awareness" among more visitors. As well, through a smaller provincial grant, the WMAS has been able to get its first professionally designed brochure. There are a few events taking place at the museum worth noting. Saturday, Sept. 26, the WMAS will host Lego Daze, an event which gives kids the opportunity to visit the museum and to show off their building skills. On Wednesday, Sept. 30, the museum is hosting a thank you evening for the most recent displays, provided by the RCMP, Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association, the Whistler Fire Department, council and AWARE. The WMAS asks that anyone wishing to attend the evening contact the museum ahead of time.