Joseph Brant Mu­seum gets $4.5-mil­lion boost

Feds’ cash fi­nal piece of fund­ing puz­zle for her­itage site

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - JOHN BKILA

Af­ter nearly four decades, Joseph Brant Mu­seum’s ex­pan­sion and re­de­vel­op­ment plans are green-lit thanks to an in­fu­sion of $4.5 mil­lion from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to the lo­cal her­itage site.

Fri­day morn­ing’s an­nounce­ment, held at the mu­seum, was the fi­nal piece of the fund­ing puz­zle needed to go ahead with the $10.4mil­lion con­struc­tion plan, which started in 1978.

“It’s go­ing to be a great way to show­case our cul­tural her­itage to the com­mu­nity… (and) be re­ally mean­ing­ful in our com­mu­nity for years and decades and hope­fully for an­other 150 years,” said Burling­ton MP and Min­is­ter of Demo­cratic In­sti­tu­tions Ka­rina Gould.

Orig­i­nally the mu­seum’s board, through the City of Burling­ton, had re­quested $5.2 mil­lion from the fed­eral Canada Cul­tural Spa­ces Fund pro­gram, but di­rec­tor of Burling­ton mu­se­ums Bar­bara Teatero said the slightly lower fig­ure wouldn’t im­pede the project.

“Not at all. We have a foun­da­tion that’s ready to step up and do what needs to be done. It won’t im­pede it all. It won’t change plans at all,” she said Fri­day out­side the 1240 North Shore Blvd. build­ing.

Burling­ton MPP Eleanor McMa­hon said the prov­ince would be giv­ing a $500,000 grant to­ward the re­de­vel­op­ment project, ad­min­is­tered by the On­tario Tril­lium Foun­da­tion.

The city has $2.12 mil­lion in re­serve funds ded­i­cated to the plan, leav­ing the Burling­ton Mu­se­ums Foun­da­tion on the hook for the re­main­ing cost.

De­spite no start date for con­struc­tion on the books, the ren­o­va­tion will ex­pand on the cur­rent 5,000-square-foot prop­erty, city staff say.

“The pro­posed de­sign will fea­ture a 14,000-square-foot ex­pan­sion that re­flects the ar­chi­tec­tural in­tegrity of the Joseph Brant house,” said Mayor Rick Goldring.

“The plan pre­serves the ex­ist­ing Brant house plus pro­vides an ex­panded mod­ern fa­cil­ity that ar­chi­tec­turally and es­thet­i­cally com­ple­ments the Joseph Brant house, be en­vi­ron­men­tally re­spon­si­ble … at­tract top-tier na­tional ex­hi­bi­tions and add to Burling­ton’s lus­tre as one of Canada’s ear­li­est, his­tor­i­cally-rich set­tle­ments,” Goldring added.

The lo­cal her­itage mu­seum — named for the fa­mous Mo­hawk mil­i­tary and po­lit­i­cal leader Joseph Brant (Thayen­da­negea), who set­tled in Burling­ton in the early 1800s — has been closed to the pub­lic since July 2, 2016.

It was ini­tially meant to stay that way just for the sum­mer of 2016 to ac­com­mo­date road con­struc­tion along Lakeshore Road.

In Jan­uary, Teatero said the mu­seum’s board de­cided to keep Joseph Brant closed in an­tic­i­pa­tion of pro­vin­cial and fed­eral fund­ing news.

While the pub­lic won’t be able to ac­cess the mu­seum un­til its ex­pan­sion and re­de­vel­op­ment is com­pleted, Teatero said Fri­day, they will still be able to en­joy the unique ar­ti­facts of the mu­seum dur­ing Canada’s 150th year.

“Within the next week, there will be a big dis­play at Burling­ton Mall that will be there for the year … those Joseph Brant ar­ti­facts will not be packed up and put in stor­age, they be on ex­hibit at the Ire­land House or we’ll be tak­ing them out to the com­mu­nity.” she noted.

GRA­HAM PAINE, METROLAND

Joseph Brant Mu­seum’s ex­pan­sion plans will be boosted by $4.5 mil­lion.

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