MacBride gets $6 million for massive expansion

Whitehorse’s MacBride Museum of Yukon History is getting cash from the territorial and federal governments so it can more than double in size.

Whitehorse’s MacBride Museum of Yukon History is getting cash from the territorial and federal governments so it can more than double in size.

Representatives from the municipal, territorial and federal governments made the $6 million announcement Tuesday afternoon.

The expansion, which will connect to the current main building downtown, will add 1,700 additional square metres to the museum, spread out over a new three-storey building.

“It’s been a longstanding hope of ours to expand so we can tell more Yukon stories to more people, Yukoners and visitors alike,” said Keith Halliday, chair of the the museum’s board of directors. (Halliday is a columnist with the News.)

The new building will have five galleries including a map room with 120 years worth of Yukon maps and a new home for Engine 51, one of the first locomotives on the White Pass and Yukon Railway. Other spaces will tell the stories of Yukon innovators.

The top floor will display the “overall theme of Whitehorse as a working town and the role that Whitehorse has played in the development of the Yukon,” executive director Patricia Cunning said.

The current building will be used for a much larger First Nations gallery.

More details about specific exhibits will come as the project gets up and running, Cunning said.

She estimates about 70 per cent of the museum’s 30,000-piece collection is currently in storage because there is not enough space to show it all off.

“Huge numbers of people who cared about the territory made an effort to donate things to us, to entrust them to us,” she said.

“I want to put them back in the public display, in the public domain, so that people can see them.”

The tender to build the new expansion is expected to go out in the next few weeks with construction starting sometime in the fall. The museum estimates it will take around 18 months to build the expansion.

The federal and Yukon governments each contributed $3 million to this stage of the project. Ottawa’s money comes from the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund. The federal money needs to be spent by the end of this fiscal year. The territorial money is slated to follow after that.

“For more than half a century the museum has showcased our stories, our struggles and our successes,” said Yukon MP Larry Bagnell.

“The MacBride Museum is a living time capsule that chronicles being north of 60 in a special and meaningful way.”

Earlier this year the Yukon government gave the museum $450,000 to plan and design the expansion.

Premier Darrell Pasloski estimates construction will create 35 full-time jobs over the next two years.

“(Museums) do much more than just preserve the past. Museums and cultural spaces also play a significant role in revitalizing our present lives,” he said.

“Investments like the one we are announcing today are investments in the continuing economic growth of our tourism industry.”

The MacBride Museum opened in 1952. It runs year round and there are no plans to shut it down during the construction, Cunning said. About 25,000 people visit the museum each year.

Contact Ashley Joannou at

ashleyj@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
YUKONOMIST: Another election, another anomaly

Monday’s “double-tie” election is generating some free publicity for the Yukon as Outside news agencies scramble to find someone to interview.

A cyclist rides along the Millenium Trail in downtown Whitehorse on a frigid Feb. 9. Whitehorse city council has passed the first two readings of an e-bike bylaw that would designate how e-bike riders can use city trails. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
First two readings passed on Whitehorse e-bike bylaw

Delegate calls on city to consider age restrictions and further regulations

Whitehorse City Hall at its Steele Street entrance. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Change of plans approved for city hall

Project would see 1966 city hall demolished

A city map shows the property at 107 Range Road. The zoning is now in place for developers to proceed with plans for a Dairy Queen drive-thru. If plans proceed on schedule the new restaurant is anticipated to open in October. (Cyrstal Schick/Yukon News)
October opening eyed for Dairy Queen

Will depend on everything going according to plan

Crystal Schick/Yukon News Whitehorse International Airport in Whitehorse on May 6, 2020.
NAV CANADA suspends review for Whitehorse airport traffic control

NAV CANADA announced on April 15 that it is no longer considering… Continue reading

A bulldozer levels piles of garbage at the Whitehorse landfill in January 2012. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Rural dump closures and tipping fees raise concern from small communities

The government has said the measures are a cost-cutting necessity

lwtters
Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at city council matters for the week of April 12

Joel Krahn/joelkran.com Hikers traverse the Chilkoot Trail in September 2015. Alaska side.
The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer

The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer Parks… Continue reading

Letters to the editor.
Today’s mailbox: Hands of Hope, the quilt of poppies

Toilets are important Ed. note: Hands of Hope is a Whitehorse-based non-profit… Continue reading

École Whitehorse Elementary Grade 7 students Yumi Traynor and Oscar Wolosewich participated in the Civix Student Vote in Whitehorse on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Yukon Student Vote chooses Yukon Party government; NDP take popular vote

The initiative is organized by national non-profit CIVIX

Yvonne Clarke is the newly elected Yukon Party MLA for Porter Creek Centre. (Submitted/Yukon Party)
Yvonne Clarke elected as first Filipina MLA in the Yukon Legislative Assembly

Clarke beat incumbent Liberal Paolo Gallina in Porter Creek Centre

Most Read