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Canadian Museum of Nature / Musée canadien de la nature

(17.06.2002 , Canada, Ottawa )
New Vision for the Canadian Museum of Nature

OTTAWA, January 30, 2002 -- The Canadian Museum of Nature, Canada's national museum of natural history, has outlined a new vision of national service that will drive its efforts to engage Canadians through the collaborative development of new programmes and initiatives on issues of importance to them.

The achievement of this vision is based on a $70-million investment strategy to be implemented over the next six years. Of this total, $44-million will be received from the Government of Canada and is designated for the rehabilitation and upgrades to transform Nature's historic, public exhibitions site in downtown Ottawa - the Victoria Memorial Museum Building (VMMB). The CMN is also spending $10-million from operating funds to work with partners to create new galleries, develop innovative and topical travelling exhibitions, and extend the impact of its scientific collections, research and educational programming. The CMN will raise an additional $16-million in new funding through a national campaign and future fundraising activities.

"I'm pleased that the Government of Canada has been able to contribute to this new national service strategy for the Canadian Museum of Nature," said Canadian Heritage Minister Sheila Copps. "Nature and the environment are part of who we are as Canadians. It's important that we not only preserve the record of our natural history, but also connect Canadians with nature so they can better understand, appreciate and benefit from this wonderful natural heritage."

"Through this new vision, the Canadian Museum of Nature will develop key partnerships with a network of natural history museums and other institutions across the country. We want to ensure that our joint programmes extend beyond the physical spaces of our own institutions and that Canadians will have access to timely, objective, and authoritative information on natural science issues of importance to them," said Joanne DiCosimo, Nature's President and CEO, in outlining the strategy.

Public Works and Government Services Canada has partnered with the Canadian Museum of Nature to manage the rehabilitation project of the Victoria Memorial Museum Building (VMMB). "We are delighted to be part of the team involved in this important project. Our expertise in restoring and preserving some of Canada's most important heritage sites and buildings will help ensure that the historic Victoria Memorial Museum Building is a suitable and distinguished home for the Canadian Museum of Nature," said the Honourable Don Boudria, Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

The renovation of Nature's public exhibitions site, the Victoria Memorial Museum Building, will further complement Nature's national strategy through the upgrading and creation of new galleries and programmes on key themes - fossils and the record of prehistoric life, the nature of humans, water and biodiversity. An innovative and interactive discovery centre using state-of-the-art technology will engage families and children. Government of Canada funding for the rehabilitation project was provided for in previous budgets and is therefore built into the existing framework.

"As representatives of Canada's museum community, we are truly excited to see this national museum commit to and support the development of partnerships for the broader good and interest of all Canadians," said Rick Darroch of the Canadian Museums Association. "It marks a new way of doing business for all concerned."

At the event, Nature announced the joint venture of Barry Padolsky Associates; Kuwabara, Payne, McKenna, Blumberg; and Gagnon, Letellier, Cyr as the prime architects that will oversee the rehabilitation of the 90-year-old VMMB, a heritage treasure and Canada's first purpose-built museum. The consortium is led by three noted architects with these firms: Barry Padolsky in Ottawa, Bruce Kuwabara in Toronto and Marc Letellier in the City of Québec.

In addition, Nature kicked off a national fundraising campaign, to be led by co-chairs, Drs. Adam and Claudia Chowaniec, leaders in the business community. The Natural Partnerships Campaign has already raised $5.3-million toward its $10-million goal.

As an example of the partnerships that will proceed from Nature's new national service strategy, Ms. DiCosimo outlined a travelling, national exhibition being produced in collaboration with the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) in Burlington, Ontario. Green Legacy was initiated by the RBG and is a major exhibition about the endangered plants of Canada. It will open in spring 2002 at Nature, then travel to other museums and botanical gardens across the country before becoming a permanent exhibition at the RBG.

More Information:
Dan Smythe Senior Media Relations Officer 613.566.4781, dsmythe@mus-nature.ca





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