Let’s Get Letter-Writing!

holding-laptop-1552142-1280x960The public hasn’t been informed of any developments regarding the future of the NBM since just before Christmas. While there are likely things going on behind the scenes, the Friends of the NBM and the rest of the public have no idea what’s happening beyond a finite timeline slipping away.

Given the facts that there has been a recent cabinet shuffle, and Fall 2017 (the deadline to get the people and collections out from under the failing roof on Douglas Avenue) is a mere 14 months away, it’s time for a new letter-writing campaign.

The NBM is not in a position to paddle its own canoe. It’s the two departments of the provincial government — both Tourism, Heritage and Culture AND Transportation and Infrastructure — that have all the control and perhaps none of the knowledge of what a museum is and needs.

When the key players can change each electoral cycle and/or cabinet shuffle, the NBM probably has to start over, trying to explain things to new people.  That’s likely part of the reason there have been numerous studies since 2000 on what to do with the museum and no corresponding action.

The provincial government are the ones in charge of this situation.  These are the people to whom we should be asking questions and sharing our concerns:

Hon. John B. Ames
Minister of Tourism, Heritage and Culture


Hon. Bill Fraser
Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure

Interestingly, Bill Fraser’s last portfolio was Tourism, Heritage and Culture, so he should have at least some idea of the situation at the NBM.

Given the possible Canada Post strike, email may be the best way to send our letters.



NBM Presenting to City Council Tomorrow Night

I heart NBM_edited-1

In looking through the agenda for tomorrow night’s Common Council meeting, I saw that the New Brunswick Museum will be making a presentation as part of the regular council meeting.  (The large agenda packet also contains many of the Powerpoint slides that were part of the information session on December 10, 2015.  You can see it here.)

Although it is short notice and a very busy time of year, the NBM really needs a strong showing of public support.  If you can join me and other friendly faces in the council chamber tomorrow evening, I am sure it would be very much appreciated.  (I’ll be the one with the red coat and the “I (heart) NBM” stickers, in case there were any doubt.)

Please see below for directions to the City Council chamber.  The Friends will be gathering outside it, in the lobby, at about 5:30 PM.


Please help get the word out, and come join us if at all possible.

Thank you.


Update and Next Steps


The Facilities page at the NBM website has been updated with the information from last Thursday’s information session.

The most important part is this:

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? [Karen’s note: A new location automatically opens up the entire province of New Brunswick.]

Next Steps:

Please let the NBM know your thoughts on this question, and this issue, by emailing NBM-MNB@nbm-mnb.ca or through the NBM’s Facebook page.

Read the whole update here.

We Need to Act Now.

For nearly 175 years, the New Brunswick Museum (NBM) located in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada has been the provincial hub for cultural, scientific, and research activity. It has inspired artists, played a vital role in protecting endangered species, encouraged young people to become learners and thinkers, among so many other important functions. It is a resource not merely for New Brunswickers, but beyond.

For the past 15 years, the NBM has sought to find a solution to a problem that has endangered its collection, its staff, and its work. The NBM’s Collections and Research Centre was built in the 1930s. It is dreadfully overcrowded, has no fire suppression system, no environmental controls, and has serious mold, leak, and vermin issues. The building itself is in a state of failure, with the stone roof estimated to collapse within two years, taking one or two floors with it. In short: the situation has finally reached crisis level, and the NBM is out of time.

The solution is not simple. As a crown corporation, the NBM falls under the jurisdiction of one provincial department (Tourism, Heritage and Culture) while the facilities it rents fall under another (Transportation and Infrastructure). To further complicate matters, Saint John City Council has not demonstrated visible and active support for the NBM in this time of crisis; the indefinite tabling of a key decision and subsequent silence regarding a possible solution has given an air of indifference, at best.

At this time, it is absolutely imperative for two things to happen:

  1. It must be made unequivocally clear to the New Brunswick Provincial Government that the NBM (and its collection and expertise) is a vital and worthwhile asset, not to just New Brunswickers but far beyond our borders. It is something in which we can take pride, and its protection and work should be a priority rather than an afterthought.
  2. The citizens of Saint John must stand up and demonstrate the desire to keep the New Brunswick Museum – and its cultural, economic, social, and educational benefits – in this community. As the provincial museum, the reality is that it can be relocated to any community in the province, particularly if it is cost-effective or politically wise to do so.

Please make your support known as soon as possible, help spread the word, and encourage others to do so.

Thank you.

Karen J. McLean
Founder of the Friends of the New Brunswick Museum
Blog: The Friends of the New Brunswick Museum
Facebook: The Friends of the New Brunswick Museum

Please note: The Friends of the New Brunswick Museum is a concerned citizens group that is not formally affiliated with nor does it officially represent in any way the New Brunswick Museum or the Province of New Brunswick.

Yesterday’s News

Now the media is posting about the public update yesterday.

“New Brunswick Museum may relocate if new plan isn’t found: Museum vice-chair Louise Imbeault says governments must ante up funds to build a new $45M facility.”

“New Brunswick Museum faces an uncertain future: It’s crunch time for the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John.”

I’ve been told there is an article in today’s paper. I haven’t picked up a copy yet, and it’s behind a paywall online.