April 30, 2019 8:15 pm

McCord Museum in Montreal plans to expand with $180-million revamp

Did you know the McCord Museum has over 1.5 million objects in their collection? Global's Kim Sullivan learns more about the latest exhibit, Sding K'awXangs – Haida: Supernatural Stories, which showcases over 100 of these rare objects from the Indigenous Cultures collection.

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The McCord Museum in downtown Montreal plans to completely revamp its building, adding more space to its cramped quarters.

“It’s not only an expansion, it’s a completely new museum,” said Suzanne Sauvage, president and CEO of McCord Stewart Museum.

The plan, which was announced Tuesday, proposes to build a brand new structure on top of the existing McCord Museum on Sherbrooke Street and onto parts of the adjacent Victoria Street.

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Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante announced that she was granting the rights to build on Victoria Street.

“It was important for me to give the McCord the space they need to expand so people have better access to the amazing collections,” said Plante.

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Along with the McCord’s collections, the new building will also be home to the recently merged Fashion Museum and the Stewart Museum.

The museum has struggled with limited space in recent years, but the issue became worse since the merger. The McCord currently displays only one per cent of its collections.

“We should be showing four or five per cent,” said Sauvage.

The new building — which would include larger exhibit rooms, open gardens and suspended terraces — would triple the exhibition space and accommodate twice as many visitors.

“It will allow us to have more permanent exhibitions, [to show] our collections and it will also allow us to have larger international exhibitions,” said Sauvage.

Museum officials hope to convince both arms of the government as well as private investors to fund the project equally.

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A $15-million donation by the Emmanuelle Gattuso Foundation is helping to fast-track the project.

“I can’t think of something more significant than helping this museum, which is the museum of the city of Montreal, to expand and become internationally renown,” said Emmanuelle Gattuso.

The architectural firm that will design the final plan has yet to be chosen, but museum officials say some parts of the original building will be kept.

If the project is approved, the McCord Museum will be closed during the renovations. The project is expected to take up to three years to complete.

READ MORE: Exhibition ‘Shame and Prejudice’ honours First Nations, questions how Canadians see their history

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