How our neighbours in Waterloo support local history

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Here in Brant County, the Council currently has a committee considering a staff recommendation to declare as surplus the buildings housing the Harley Museum (Burford Township) and the St. George Museum (St. George Memorial Hall) as well as the St. George Old School and several other community halls.

In that context, it might be interesting to compare that with what our neighbours in the Region of Waterloo are doing to support local history. Below is the text of a fact sheet describing the Regional History Museum project they are undertaking at a budgetted cost of $26 million dollars….

The SDHS doesn’t really expect or believe that Brant County would spend $26 million on a similar project, but closing the museum and putting the collection into storage doesn’t sound like a great way to promote local heritage.

Region of Waterloo History Museum Fact sheet – July 2008

Regional History Museum Facts

The vision for a community museum was first stated in 1912 by the Waterloo Historical Society and has been in the Region of Waterloo’s capital program since 1988.

A feasibility study approved in principle by Regional Council in mid-2007 recommended that a
Regional history museum, combined with visitor orientation to the living history village, be built at Doon Heritage Crossroads.

The overall project budget for the Region of Waterloo History Museum is $26 million; a $2 million grant has been received from the Government of Canada through the Cultural Spaces Canada program of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

The architects for the museum are Moriyama + Teshima of Toronto in association with The Walter Fedy Partnership from Kitchener.

The museum will be located at the intersection of Homer Watson Boulevard and Huron Road in
Kitchener, at Doon Heritage Crossroads, on property owned by the Region of Waterloo.

The museum will create more than 1,858 sq. metres (20,000 sq. ft.) of permanent and temporary gallery space; the entire building will be 4,366 sq. metres (47,000 sq. ft.) in size.
Building orientation and design considerations include: views from Homer Watson Boulevard and
from the living history village; public use; accessibility; respect for the existing village, the natural environment, and the neighbours; sustainability and energy efficiency; and exhibit planning.

The museum exhibits will tell the stories of this region, and will improve access to the more than
43,000 artifacts in storage at the Doon Heritage Crossroads CuratorialCentre. Building construction is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2008 and continue into early 2010. Exhibit
fabrication and installation will start in spring 2010 and will continue through November 2011.
Many groups will be consulted about the exhibit plans and community stories as this work
progresses.

The new museum building will be designed and constructed to the Canada Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Silver Standard in accordance with Regional policy for all new construction projects. Public consultations for the building design were held in Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo in April 2008.

The museum building is being designed to be fully accessible through consultation with the Grand River Accessibility Advisory Committee.

What can you do to support the museum?

Check our website for updates on the project.
Talk about the project with others in your organization.

Visit the museum’s website at: www.region.waterloo.on.ca/museum
Email us at: newmuseum@region.waterloo.on.ca

To respond or obtain more information, contact
Tom Reitz, Manager/Curator
Doon Heritage Crossroads
519-748-1914 ext. 3270
rtom@region.waterloo.on.ca

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