Vancouver Museum to leave Kitsilano?

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Marsha Lederman profiles the plight of the Vancouver Museum today in the Globe and Mail. The Vancouver Museum is one the country’s largest and oldest civic museums – established in 1894, it moved to its current location on Vanier Point in Kitsilano in 1968.

The New York Times Magazine recently featured a six-page spread on hot spots in Vancouver, with no mention of the Vancouver Museum. In bookstores, The Rough Guide to Vancouver warns: “Though it’s the main point of interest at Vanier Park, the [Vancouver] museum is not so captivating as you’d expect from a city of Vancouver’s size and status. It claims to hold 300,000 exhibits, but it’s hard to know where they could all be, and a visit needn’t take more than an hour or so.”

The Vancouver Museum, tucked away in a corner of Kitsilano, far from the action of downtown, and sharing a building with the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, is to some people invisible and to others badly in need of an overhaul – and the people who run the place know it. Tonight, they will present a plan for the reinvention of the museum and get the ball rolling for a possible move to another site.

The museum’s CEO, Nancy Noble, agrees that a new vision for the Vancouver Museum is long overdue. The museum’s upcoming exhibition, Movers and Shapers, is a good indication of what’s to come. The show features 20 designers (ranging from architects to fashion designers) “you should know” – according to the literature.

Part of the museum’s new strategic plan is to investigate moving. While no decisions have been made, it does have its eye on the current home of the Vancouver Art Gallery. Noble says that if and when the VAG moves and the city creates a so-called cultural precinct downtown, that would exacerbate her current location problem of being on the other side of the Burrard Street bridge.

Last modified: April 16, 2008

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