NBM Facilities


The New Brunswick Museum Board’s Plans for the NBM’s Facilities

Archaeological Testing Project - Final Report – 24 October, 2015 | Media
NBM Assessment of Facilty Needs and Options 2008
NBM Lundholm Report 30 November 2014

Updated: December 15, 2015

To fulfill the mandate of the NB Museum to preserve, research and interpret the natural, human and cultural heritage of the province of New Brunswick, the NB Museum requires resources of various kinds, including appropriate facilities.

Currently, the NBM is operating in two main facilities:

1. The NBM Collections and Research Centre, located at 277 Douglas Avenue, in Saint John, owned by the Province
2. The NBM Exhibition Centre, located at Market Square, in Saint John, leased by the Province from the private sector

Due to space restraints, the NBM also has temporary storage off-site.

NBM Collections and Research Centre

Within the NBM Collections and Research Centre, collections of provincial, national, and international significance are researched and interpreted by NBM staff, university students, and visiting researchers for the preservation and dissemination of New Brunswick history, culture, and natural history.  The Centre hosts researchers from around the world, responds to international queries about its holding, mentors students, creates exhibition for display at the NBM Exhibition Centre in Market Square (and at various venues around the province), and supports the production of academic and educational information. The NBM Archives and Research Library is open regularly to the public. Access to collections and the expertise of curators and other staff is available by appointment and through specific NBM programmes and activities.

The building, built in 1929-32, is owned and maintained by the Province of New Brunswick. This building is in poor condition; there are major issues with the building systems, structure, and envelope, impacting the health and safety of the collections, and the people located within it. The building is extremely over-crowded with collections and activities of national and international renown. The NB Museum urgently requires an adequate and appropriate Collections and Research facility to continue to fulfill its role within the province, and to expand its impact. The NB Museum Board and the Province have thoroughly studied this issue. In the past 12 years, there have been more than a dozen reports and plans. In 2014, the NB Museum Board, with the Province, proposed a multi-phased plan that included first the construction of an addition, and, then, secondly, the renovation of the original structure. 

At least seven options for the location of an addition and redevelopment of the original building at the Douglas Avenue site were investigated. In one, the addition was proposed for construction on adjacent, City of Saint John parkland in Riverview Memorial Park.  This option included the opportunity for some redevelopment of the Park, in consultation with the public.  While some members of the public did support this option, there were also concerns raised by those who wished to retain the Park as it is.  Since the land in the Park is owned by the City of Saint John, several levels of approval were required from City Council, including, but not limited to, approval for geotechnical testing to determine the feasibility of the proposal, a Plan SJ Amendment and a By-law Amendment.  Without approval from City Council, this option was not viable. 

Several options were investigated on the parking lot side of the NBM Collections and Research Centre.  The existence of an archaeological site on Marble Cove, behind the NB Museum, has been documented for decades.  The existence of archaeological materials on the slope behind the parking lot of the NBM was identified as a possibility, but had not been confirmed.  The options for the location of the addition on the parking lot side were sited, as much as possible, away from potential archaeological sites; however, it was not possible to obtain the square footage and functionality required without some impact on the slope.  The Archaeological Survey of this area was completed in July, 2015 by NB Archaeological Services, as part of their scheduled season of fieldwork.  This survey identified a significant new archaeological site for New Brunswick; the results are described in the Archaeological Testing Project - Final Report, available through the link above.

Ultimately, given the existence of this significant archaeological site directly behind the Museum parking lot and the limited size of the potential building site, it is not possible to proceed with the development of an addition to the current structure.  The NB Museum Functional Programme requires approximately 115,000 sq. feet, if it is located in a new, purpose-built structure; additional square feet are required if a new structure is added to the original building. For reference, the current structure is approximately 64,000 sq. feet.  There is not enough space on the building site to allow for an addition of a sufficient size that will meet the requirements of the NB Museum, while retaining the current structure.

Given the size of the site on which construction is possible, there is one last option to develop a facility that will meet the functional requirements of the NB Museum at this site. This multi-year Plan entails the removal of the current building and the construction of a new more compact and functional facility. Alternatively, the NB Museum Collections and Research Centre could move to another location.

The NB Museum Board of Directors presented a Public Update to approximately 90 people in Saint John on December 10, 2015. Various media attended this event and reported on the discussion.

As part of this Update, the NB Museum Board asked the public to consider and provide feedback on the following question: 

Given that you agree that the NB Museum should continue its many contributions to the Province of New Brunswick, and that an appropriate and functional Collections and Research Centre is essential to its role, do you want the NB Museum Collections and Research Centre to remain at the current site (which would require the removal of the current structure and construction of a more compact structure) or do you want the NB Museum Collections and Research Centre to move to a new location?

Next Steps:

Please let the NBM know your thoughts on this question, and this issue, by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or through the NBM’s Facebook page.

Plan of site showing area, outlined in green, that is available for construction. Please see Archaeological Report for more information on this Plan.

 Plan of site showing area

Plan of site showing area, outlined in red, that is available for construction, and the footprint, outlined in black, of the potential new building.

Plan of site showing area1

NBM Exhibition Centre

The NBM Exhibition Centre in Market Square, Saint John shares the collections and stories of New Brunswick with residents of New Brunswick and visitors to the province. It is one of New Brunswick’s key cultural tourism attractions, as well as a significant venue for curriculum-based and life-long learning experiences. Approximately 65,000 people visit the NBM each year. The NBM partners with the private sector to offer innovative programming to cruise, group tours, meetings and convention groups, festivals and special events, as well as to other targeted audiences.

The NBM Exhibition Centre is in space leased by the Province from the private sector. The Exhibition Centre opened in April, 1996 with a long term lease (20 years). The current exhibition space no longer meets today’s requirement for the NBM and the public. The building envelope and equipment infrastructure is aging. Upgrades are required to protect NBM’s collections, provide engaging exhibitions and programmes, meet modern museum standards and travelling exhibition requirements, and meet public safety standards.

In August 2014, the Province issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a long-term lease for the NB Museum Exhibition Centre, either in a redevelopment of its current location (to address building issues), or a new location in the waterfront area of Uptown Saint John. The RFP closed in January 2015. Three responses were received. The Province has not yet made a decision on the RFP, and a long-term lease. In the meantime, the Province has arranged a short-term lease for the NB Museum Exhibition Centre.

Next Steps:

Watch the NBM website for more updates on plans for the NB Museum Exhibition Centre.

Future Steps:

Over the upcoming months, the NBM will be discussing its plans with New Brunswickers. Please watch the NBM website and the NBM Facebook page for more information.

Thank you for your support!

Check out the Media Coverage for the NBM Board’s Plans:

14 July 2016 Give museum recognition it deserves (Telegraph Journal)
12 July 2016 Future of museum is uncertain, says city councillor (Telegraph Journal)
15 June 2016 Saint John requires united tourism strategy (Telegraph Journal)
28 March 2016 Museum needs a bigger renewal plan (Telegraph Journal)
24 March 2016 City has to get in line for federal money (Telegraph Journal)
23 March 2016 Council directs mayor to send letter in support of museum (Telegraph Journal)
21 March 2016 Letter could help in quest to find a home, museum CEO says (Telegraph Journal)
19 January 2016 Relocate museum to Long Wharf (Telegraph Journal)
19 January 2016 Federal funds miss top city priorities (Telegraph Journal)
18 January 2016 Public support growing for new collection, research centre: Museum CEO (Telegraph Journal)
15 January 2016 Museum needs focused attention, support (Telegraph Journal)
8 January 2016 Artifacts found near Saint John museum may be 4,400 years old (CBC News)
28 December 2015 Lack of funding leaves N.B. Museum's future unclear (CTV Atlantic News)
28 December 2015 Future of N.B. Museum unclear (CTV Atlantic News)
28 December 2015 NB Museum should stay in Saint John (Telegraph Journal)
26 December 2015 Is a facility constellation the answer? (Telegraph Journal)
26 December 2015 Museum needs to communicate vision (Telegraph Journal)
24 December 2015 The New Brunswick Museum is in quite a pickle (Telegraph Journal)
22 December 2015 Watch interview about NBM Collections and Research Centre: 7:18 – 8:11 (Global News)
22 December 2015 Council supports museum staying in city (Telegraph Journal)
21 December 2015 Uncertain Future Surrounds New Brunswick Museum's Collections Centre (CHSJ News)
17 December 2015 Museum board needs public support (Telegraph Journal)
17 December 2015 All need to show support for museum (Telegraph Journal)
15 December 2015 Museum needs team work, not sniping (Telegraph Journal)
14 December 2015 Le Musée du Nouveau-Brunswick pourrait devoir déménager (Acadie Nouvelle, in French)
12 December 2015 Mayor wants museum to stay in Saint John (Telegraph Journal)
11 December 2015 New Brunswick Museum may relocate if new plan isn't found (CBC News)
11 December 2015 Museum and iconic Douglas Avenue building at parting of the ways (Telegraph Journal)
10 December 2015 New Brunswick Museum faces an uncertain future (Global News)
10 December 2015 Another Proposal For Future Of NB Museum's Collections Centre On Douglas Avenue Presented (CHSJ News)
10 December 2015 Museum providing update on building plans (Telegraph Journal)
14 August 2015 N.B. museum finds historic artifacts in backyard (CTV Atlantic News)
27 July 2015 First Nations, early settlement artifacts found (Telegraph Journal)
29 June 2015 Watch interview about NBM Collections and Research Centre (Global News, 7:26 - 8:21)
29 June 2015 Museum neighbours support changed plan (Telegraph Journal)
27 June 2015 New Brunswick Museum gets green light to expand (Telegraph Journal)
26 June 2015 New plan for N.B.museum expansion (CTV Atlantic News)
27 May 2015 NB Museum needs public support (Telegraph Journal)
14 April 2015 Public institutions have proven to be susceptible to historical amnesia (The Daily Gleaner)
13 April 2015 Museum supporters ask Common Council to allow testing of park land (Telegraph Journal)
31 March 2015 New museum plans worth supporting (Telegraph Journal)
26 March 2015 There’s room for museum consensus (Telegraph Journal)
25 March 2015 Museum editorial was rational approach (Telegraph Journal)
24 March 2015 Legal limbo sign of museum impasse (Telegraph Journal)
23 March 2015 Delay is not gift to NB Museum (Telegraph Journal)
23 March 2015 Province, city at odds on museum expansion (Telegraph Journal)
22 March 2015 NB Museum Explores Other Options For Collections Centre Expansion (CHSJ News)
19 March 2015 NB Museum may move somewhere else (K100 Radio)
19 March 2015 Museum given time to refocus on plan (Telegraph Journal)
18 March 2015 NB Museum Douglas Ave. Site Plans Changed (CBC News, Information Morning Saint John)
18 March 2015 New Brunswick Museum looking at new options for expansion (CBC News)
18 March 2015 Museum stepping back from expansion into memorial park (Telegraph Journal)
17 March 2015 New Brunswick Museum Collections and Research Centre Update
12 March 2015 Veterans understand memorial's importance (Telegraph Journal)
9 March 2015 Vets can be honoured with changes to park (Telegraph Journal)
9 March 2015 Creative solutions possible for museum (Telegraph Journal)
7 March 2015 Historian opposes option, not plan (Telegraph Journal)
7 March 2015 We need truth in museum dispute (Telegraph Journal)
4 March 2015 Council puts off decision on museum testing (Telegraph Journal)
3 March 2015 Museum helped with NBYO project (Telegraph Journal)
3 March 2015 Museum curators need to fulfill mandate (Telegraph Journal)
2 March 2015 Geopark supports museum expansion (Telegraph Journal)
2 March 2015 Museum collections must be protected (Telegraph Journal)
2 March 2015 Supporters sound off in defence of museum expansion (Telegraph Journal)
2 March 2015 There's more to the museum's plan than meets the eye (Telegraph Journal)
26 February 2015 New vision needed with museum plan (Telegraph Journal)
25 February 2015 New Brunswick Museum expansion plans still not finalized (CBC News)
25 February 2015 NB Museum expansion endorsed (Telegraph Journal)
25 February 2015 Museum holds public sessions on proposed expansion plans (Telegraph Journal)
25 February 2015 Watch interview about NBM facilities: Museum plans for future (CBC News)
24 February 2015 Watch interview about NBM facilities: Public weighs in on future of archives at New Brunswick Museum (CTV News)
24 February 2015 Expanding the NB Museum Could Boost Tax Revenue and Improve the Park (CHSJ News)
24 February 2015 Museum facing time crunch to save Douglas Avenue site (Telegraph Journal)
23 February 2015 Watch interview about NBM facilities (CBC News, 0:00-2:35)
23 February 2015 Watch interview about NBM facilities (Global News)
20 February 2015 New Brunswick Museum's Future
10 February 2015 Keep memorial park as it is (Telegraph Journal)
9 February 2015 Our veterans deserve a lot more respect (Times Transcript)
4 February 2015 Retain Boer War park as a memorial (Telegraph Journal)
28 January 2015 Cutting park's area won't improve it (Telegraph Journal)
26 January 2015 Acquiring park land won't be that easy (Telegraph Journal)
24 January 2015 Let museum expand into park; Much thought put into expansion (Telegraph Journal)
22 January 2015 The battle over Riverview Park (Telegraph Journal)
21 January 2015 Group opposes museum encroachment into memorial park (Telegraph Journal)
20 January 2015 Watch interview about NBM facilities (CBC News)
20 January 2015 Watch interview about NBM facilities (CBC News)
20 January 2015 Watch interview about NBM facilities (Global News)
20 January 2015 Watch interview about NBM facilities (CTV News)
20 January 2015 New Brunswick Museum's park expansion bid meets opposition: Saint John's Riverview Park has a monument, trees planted in honour of soldiers who died in the Boer War (CBC News)
19 January 2015 New Brunswick Museum eyes Saint John park for expansion site: Director hopes a new $40M collections centre will be open in 2017 so existing building can be repaired (CBC News)
19 August 2014 Museum Will Seek Support From Gov't, Private Sector For Collections Centre Renos (CHSJ)
19 August 2014 New Brunswick Museum secures $1.1M for collections centre upgrade (CBC News)
19 August 2014 Museum gets $1.1M for addition, renovations (Telegraph Journal)
18 August 2014 Province Invests $1.1-Million In NB Museum's Collections Centre (CHSJ)
18 August 2014 New Brunswick Museum receives $1.1 million for Collections Centre improvement (GNB)
5 August 2014 Museum deserves widespread support (Telegraph Journal)
1 August 2014 Museum needs your support (Telegraph Journal)
31 July 2014 Truly the province's museum (Daily Gleaner)
29 July 2014 Le Musée du Nouveau-Brunswick a besoin d'aide (Radio Canada, in French)
29 July 2014 Listen to Interview: Le Musée du Nouveau-Brunswick a besoin d'aide (Radio Canada, in French)
29 July 2014 Watch interview about NBM facilities: 7:52 – 10:05 (CBC News)
29 July 2014 Museum hopes makeover will preserve its history (Telegraph Journal)
28 July 2014 Canada’s oldest continuing museum in need of makeover (CTV News)
28 July 2014 Le Musée du Nouveau-Brunswick à la croisée des chemins (Acadie Nouvelle, in french)
26 July 2014 Your Museum's Future
21 July 2014 Watch interview about NBM Collections Centre: 6:23 – 8:22 (CBC News)
16 July 2014 Time is pressing for decision on museum renovations (Telegraph Journal)
14 July 2014 Museum wants to stay uptown and on waterfront (CHSJ News & 97.3 The Wave)
12 July 2014 New Brunswick Museum receives $300K funding boost (Telegraph Journal)
11 July 2014 NB Museum gets extra $300K, and maybe a new home (CBC News)
11 July 2014 Increased funding for New Brunswick Museum, request for proposals issued (GNB)
2 July 2014 NBM Collections Centre Open House (Global News)
2 July 2014 N.B. Museum opens doors, shows public why expansion needed (Global News)
27 June 2014 The NBM Is Opening The Doors To The Douglas Avenue Archives (CBC Information Morning Saint John)
26 June 2014 Museum open house at collections centre (Telegraph Journal)
24 June 2014 Renewal of museum facilities a must (Telegraph Journal)
13 June 2014 Museum hears input on expansion from locals (Telegraph Journal)
13 June 2014 A provincial institution, in need of aid (Telegraph Journal)
13 June 2014 A provincial institution, in need of aid (Telegraph Journal)
9 June 2014 Museum collections are world class (Telegraph Journal)
4 June 2014 Collections can't survive neglect (Telegraph Journal)
3 June 2014 Back expansion of museum (Telegraph Journal)
2 June 2014 U.S. biologist backs museum expansion (Telegraph Journal)
31 May 2014 All need to support museum's expansion (Telegraph Journal)
29 May 2014 An expanded museum (Telegraph Journal)
28 May 2014 A museum with little space, a park with plenty of fans (Telegraph Journal)
27 May 2014 Watch interview 20:02 to 22:17 (CBC News)
27 May 2014 Le musée du Nouveau-Brunswick pourrait déménager du Market Square (Radio Canada, in French)
27 May 2014 New Brunswick Museum in need of makeover (CTV News)
27 May 2014 NB-NEWSMAKER-MAY 27, 2014 (CBC News)
27 May 2014 New Brunswick Museum seeks $40-million expansion (CBC News)
27 May 2014 New Brunswick Museum Has $40-million Reno Plan (CBC News, Information Morning Saint John)
27 May 2014 A $40M idea to improve New Brunswick Museum (Telegraph Journal)
16 May 2014 Re-imagining the old museum (Telegraph Journal)