The city of Burlington is finally ready to get moving on an expansion project that was approved nine years ago.
Joseph Brant Museum, a 1937 replica of the house Mohawk leader Thayendanega built, will add 12,000 square feet to its site over the next 18 months.
Construction will involve picking up Brant house and moving it so that a new space can be built underneath the grassy hillside it sits on.
Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring says the timing is right.
“When we first approved this project we had a number of things that were undone” he said, pointing to the Burlington Performing Arts Centre and the pier at Spencer Smith Park.
“I felt we needed to clean-up those projects before we moved onto this, the timing is perfect.”
The city was also waiting on financial support from the federal and provincial government, Goldring adds.
The governments of Canada and Ontario have now put up a total of $6.2 million for the $11-million undertaking.
Once it’s complete, Goldring says it will help put Burlington on the map as a cultural destination by offering new learning opportunities.
“We’re limited as far as travelling exhibitions that we can get into Burlington of a high quality, this will give us that opportunity” he said, adding it will also help showcase the 25,000 artifacts the museum already has.
“There is so much that is in storage and archives that we’ll be able to show.”
Museum Director Barb Teatero says she is already in the process of curating four new galleries for visitors to explore.
“It will be interactive for adults and youth and it will be inclusive,” she said.
“Right now, I’m feeling emotional that we’re finally going to be able to get shovels in the ground, I can only imagine what it will be like opening day.”