19 August 2014

New Brunswick Museum secures $1.1M for collections centre upgrade

Provincial funding will help plan $40M refurbishment, expansion of Douglas Avenue site

CBC News

The New Brunswick Museum is getting $1.1 million from the provincial government to plan a refurbishment and expansion of its collections centre in Saint John.

The money will be used for design work costing and a fundraising feasibility study, said Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister Trevor Holder.

"Our continued investment in the New Brunswick Museum underscores our pride in our collective heritage and our commitment to ensuring it is preserved for future generations," Holder said in a statement on Monday.

The collections centre, located on Douglas Avenue, needs a $40 million upgrade, CEO Jane Fullerton has said.

The facility houses hundreds of millions of dollars worth of artifacts, but was built in the 1930s and does not have a fire suppression system, proper lab space or climate control, Fullerton has said.

In addition, the building has been deteriorating due to issues with heating, ventilation, and water leaks.

"Left unaddressed, the continued deterioration could place collections, staff, volunteers and the public at risk," the government statement said.

A 62,000-square-foot expansion has been proposed.

Just last month, the provincial government announced a request for proposals would be issued for the construction or renovation of the museum's Exhibition Centre.

The current location, at Market Square, is no longer able to serve the needs of the collections or visiting public and an improved venue in the waterfront area of the city's uptown is needed, Holder had said.

The request for proposals will be open to developers until Nov. 30.

No timeline was provided for awarding of the contract or construction completion.

The museum's lease at Market Square expires in August.

Holder also announced an extra $300,000 in operational funding for the museum last month. The money will be used to offer increased and diverse programming and services, he had said.