Even on a warm, sunny day, Clara Morrison still wishes she had the opportunity to be inside — exploring the New Brunswick Museum.
Despite living in Saint John since the ’80s, some of Morrison’s most cherished memories include learning about the province with her loved ones.
“Well, the memory that I enjoy was taking my grandchildren there when they were small,” Morrison said, noting they are now in their mid-20s.
However, she fears many New Brunswickers will not be able to have the same experience as the museum doors remain shut.
Operated under two separate roofs, the New Brunswick Museum has a collections and research centre in Saint John’s North End and the Exhibition Centre in Uptown.
“How are the children going to learn? Everything (is) on the internet, and that’s not good, they have to go and see and feel,” Morrison said.
Plans to erect a new museum were kiboshed in 2018, only months after the Higgs government came to power. Since then, both Saint John facilities have closed, leaving many artifacts out of their displays and packaged away.
But officials appear to be signalling there are plans to breathe new life into the New Brunswick Museum.
On Saturday, the provincial and federal governments announced a combined $8 million for the “planning phase” of the New Brunswick Museum Project.
In an interview with Global News Thursday, Wayne Long, member of Parliament for Saint John—Rothesay, noted many cities and countries worldwide have museums to tell their history.
“It’s just been really, I think, a travesty that the museum’s been shuttered over the last few years really without a go forward,” Long stated.
Though the museum falls under the responsibility of the provincial government, Long noted, the federal government has a part to play as well.
“I know an announcement is shortcoming, a massive significant announcement about the New Brunswick Museum, and I don’t know the exact day or date, but I know it’s coming within a very short timeframe.”
Minister of Tourism, Heritage and Culture Tammy Scott-Wallace was not available for an interview.
In a statement to Global News, a department spokesperson noted the project has been divided into two phases, planning and construction. Plans and costs for the construction phase will be released later this year.
“We will also announce soon a new temporary location for the Museum in Saint John that will place all collections, research and administration under one roof,” said Mark Taylor.
“This will ensure collections are secure and accessible to curators to work on while we work on the design and construction of a new location.”