Canada Science and Technology Museum to be upgraded, reopen in 2017
$80.5M in funding to replace roof, update facade/exhibit space, retrofit building
The Canada Science and Technology Museum is expected to reopen in 2017 after several major upgrades, the government announced Monday.
About $80.5 million in funding was announced by Canadian Heritage Minister Shelly Glover, who was joined by Ottawa West-Nepean MP John Baird and Ottawa-Orléans MP Royal Galipeau.
The money will cover the costs of a new roof, an upgraded facade, updates to the exhibit space and a retrofit of the building to meet updated fire and earthquake-resistance codes.
The museum will be turning 50 years old in 2017 and the museum's reopening also comes during Canada's 150th birthday celebrations.
Mould forced museum to close in September
In September, the museum was forced to close after maintenance workers discovered a leak in the roof that had spread to the building's south wall. Subsequent tests revealed high levels of airborne mould.
After the closure, there were questions about whether a new location would be needed for the museum, especially since it came at a time when the National Capital Commission was looking for proposals for a parcel of land at Lebreton Flats.
However, museum corporation CEO Alex Benay said a new building would take too long and cost too much.
"All you have to do is look at Winnipeg and how long the [Canadian Museum for Human Rights] took ... we felt the country couldn't lose its science and technology museum for five to 10 years," he said. "The Winnipeg museum, I think [cost] in the $350-million-dollar range."
A 'launching pad' for a new focus
Instead of focusing on a new building, Benay said they can work with the site they have and start to think about ways they can bring their artifacts to more Canadians.
"We do plan on having some regional programming that will take place in the next few months. We've built a new outreach team where we've consolidated some of the staff to focus some of the staff exclusively on outreach — regional, national and local," he said.
"We'll be looking at how we do more exhibits across Ottawa but also across the country, with other organizations from the Government of Canada. We're in discussions about how we get to Banff, how we get to Halifax, how we can go to other places across the country."
They're also working on a more "digital, interactive" experience both at the museum and online, Benay said, such as launching their first mobile game and putting information on their entire collection on the internet, for example.
Staff at the museum were redeployed to other facilities, including the Canada Aviation and Space Museum and the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum.
Work continues on exhibition and public programming development for the museum, as well as on its collection and archives. The corporation's library at 2380 Lancaster Rd. remains open.