A group of First Nations’ dancers led the celebration as three levels of government broke ground for the construction to transform Joseph Brant Museum.
“The Joseph Brant Museum is an important space in our community that provides a window into Burlington’s rich cultural past and early foundations,” said Burlington MP Karina Gould.
“Cultural spaces like the Joseph Brant Museum allow Canadians to have greater access to our arts and culture. I look forward to watching the progress of the construction of the new facilities.“
The ceremony took place on Oct. 13.
Joseph Brant, Thayendanegea, lived from 1742 to 1807. In 1798, the Mohawk and British captain was granted 3,450 acres at the head-of-the-lake (Burlington Bay) by King George the third.
The current Joseph Brant Museum is a 1937 replica of the house Mohawk native Joseph Brant, Thayendanegea, built on a 1798 Crown land grant.
A modern addition to the museum will be built into the grassy area under the current museum.
The expansion by contractor Aquicon Construction, on behalf of the City of Burlington, will add more than 12,000 sq. ft. to its current size.
This will allow the Joseph Brant Museum to become a cultural destination and a place to host national exhibitions and the collection of artifacts.
The current 5,000 sq. ft. museum will be expanded to provide barrier-free space for gallery displays, interactive programming, the storage of collections and community outreach.
“The Joseph Brant Museum transformation will help us to celebrate the important history of our First Nations’ people, including Burlington founder Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea), as we transform into a major exhibition and heritage centre, adding to the wonderful cultural spaces that exist along Burlington’s waterfront,” said Mayor Rick Goldring.
Here are some quick facts about the Joseph Brant Museum Transformation:
- Total square footage of expanded site: 17,000 square feet
- Construction will take 18 months, depending on weather
- The total project amount is approved at about $11 million, which includes a contingency fund and allows for cost increases due to a winter construction period.
- $3.4 million from the City of Burlington
- $4.7 million from the Government of Canada
- $1.5 million from the Province of Ontario
- $2.5 million from the Joseph Brant Museum Foundation
The museum has 25,000 artifacts and receives about 18,000 visitors a year. The new space will meet all the display and security criteria to attract national travelling exhibits.
“Ontario’s rich and diverse cultural heritage gives our communities identity and character, and it enhances our sense of place and pride in where we live,” said Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon.
“Conserving our cultural heritage reflects what we value about our past, what we have learned from it and what we want future generations to know. The Joseph Brant Museum has managed to encompass all of that, and more.”
Renderings courtesy of the City of Burlington