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The former home of the New Brunswick Museum exhibition centre in Saint John. Image: Submitted/New Brunswick Museum

Architectural firm selected to plan, design New Brunswick Museum

By Brad Perry Apr 10, 2023 | 1:13 PM

A Toronto-based architectural firm will plan and design a revitalized New Brunswick Museum.

Diamond Schmitt Architects was selected following a “rigorous” request for proposal process, the museum announced last week.

“The hiring of a design consultant is a key first step in seeing a revitalized New Brunswick Museum reopened to the public,” the museum said in a news release on April 4.

Last fall, the New Brunswick Museum permanently closed its exhibition centre in Saint John’s Market Square.

It had been closed for the better part of two years — first due to COVID-19, then due to required building repairs as a result of leaks.

An interim collections and research centre is being prepared to house the museum’s collections and research activities while a permanent exhibition and collections facility is constructed in Saint John.

In March, the city’s Planning Advisory Committee signed off on a temporary use approval allowing for the museum to use a warehouse-style facility at 228 Lancaster Avenue as an interim space for its collections facility.

It will allow crews to renovate the proposed warehouse portion of the structure while council approves a rezoning application.

“It is anticipated that the collections facility will occupy the space for upwards of seven years, during which time a permanent collections centre will be developed,” said a staff report to council.

But officials with the New Brunswick Museum hope the new facility will be open much sooner than that.

Board chair Kathryn Hamer said in a recent interview that they have an “ambitious timeline” to have the museum completed and open to the public in the first quarter of 2026.

“As our experience over the pandemic years has demonstrated, construction delays are not unexpected and not unusual. But at this point, that’s what we’re shooting for,” said Hamer.

The museum’s board, staff, and the design consultant will now start the initial work of site selection and preliminary design.


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