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The New Brunswick Museum building on Douglas Avenue in Saint John. Image: Submitted

Engagement sessions for N.B. Museum revitalization project

By Brad Perry Sep 8, 2023 | 11:51 AM

You can have your say on the revitalization project for the New Brunswick Museum.

Public engagement sessions will be taking place across the province over the coming days.

It is a chance to share your ideas and learn more about the project’s preliminary design concepts.

In July, officials announced the revitalized museum will be located in its original home on Douglas Avenue in Saint John.

A new design will be incorporated into the nearly century-old facility, which will be upgraded and preserved.

“It is a location that is rich in historical significance,” Dr. Kathryn Hamer, then-chair of the museum’s board, said in a news release at the time.

Revitalizing the New Brunswick Museum will likely cost somewhere in the range of $150 million, Hamer said.

The museum’s Douglas Avenue location first opened its doors in the 1930s, but officials realized by the early 1990s that they needed more space.

In April 1996, the museum officially opened its exhibition centre in Market Square uptown. The Douglas Avenue building continued to house its collections centre and archives.

After two years of closures — first due to COVID-19, then due to the required building repairs as a result of leaks — officials permanently closed the exhibition centre last fall.

The Douglas Avenue facility has also been facing issues of its own related to leaks, officials have said.

Hamer said while the Douglas Avenue building is “not in good condition” right now, structural engineers are confident it can be retrofitted.

“If you’d asked me about the Douglas Avenue site five years ago, I would have said it’s a crumbling wreck, but it is salvageable and I think it will make a very fine start to the new facility,” she said.

Hamer said some of the building’s more recent add-ons will be removed while the original structure will be expanded — all while maintaining the iconic facade.

“There’s a lot of fondness for that old building and a lot of people who can remember being taken to it as school kids or with grandparents on a rainy Sunday afternoon,” she said.

“When we start with something people like and we can build something onto it that people will like too, it’s going to be a winning combination overall.”

The first consultation will take place at the Saint John Arts Centre from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9.

There will also be engagement sessions in Fredericton, Edmundston, Campbellton, Bathurst, Caraquet, Miramichi and Moncton between Sept. 10 and 13. A province-wide Zoom session is scheduled for Sept. 15.

You can RSVP for a specific session by going to the New Brunswick Museum revitalization project website.


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