July 2, 2014 5:01 pm

N.B. Museum opens doors, shows public why expansion needed

A Vanuatu pig head considered very valuable, more valuable than coins or currency.

Laura Brown/Global News

SAINT JOHN – It’s Canada’s oldest continual museum with some of the most valued collections in the world.

On Wednesday, the New Brunswick Museum collections centre opened its doors to the public to show off artifacts not often seen.

“This is really where New Brunswick stories are kept,” said Museum CEO Jane Fullerton.

Staff held guided tours for people to take a look at collections that aren’t at the Museum’s exhibit location.

“We have one of the largest collections in the world, in paleontology, it’s unbelievable. And we’ve got hundreds of mushrooms for science. We have a vast array of information here,” said Kim Cookson, who took the tour Wednesday.

In exchange for seeing some of the Museum’s secrets, staff also had the opportunity to expose what the 172-year-old museum needs.

“Safety is one issue, for the collections and for the people coming in. It’s also very crowded in here, because we are a museum and we do collect,” said Fullerton. “We collect New Brunswick stories and New Brunswick continues to have stories.”

This shark fossil is about 395 million years old and is one of the oldest articulated specimen in the world.

Laura Brown/Global News

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Space in the centre is tight, as zoologists, biologists, curators and geologists research and discover how the artifacts relate to New Brunswick’s story.

Fullerton is hoping an expansion and renovation project will help preserve the Museum, and all that’s inside, for years to come. Right now, the estimated price tag of that is $40-million.

“We have fossils that are a billion years old. We have a canoe from the mid-1500’s,” she said. “But we also are collecting new stories. The shark fossil found a decade ago near Campbellton is continuing to be research and documented and shared internationally. Those stories are important to tell too.”

“We really need to continue that.”



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