Having closed in 2014 for a massive renovation, the new structure of the Canada Science and Technology Museum is 85 per cent complete, the museum says.
On a special media tour of the museum’s construction site in early November, Fernand Proulx, the museum’s Chief Operating Officer, told journalists that exhibits and artifacts would start being placed in the new building in March; eight months ahead of the museum’s scheduled reopening in mid-November. “The physical structure is 85 per cent complete,” Proulx said, adding that 15 per cent of the museum’s exhibits are currently being assembled off site.
According to the museum, after the $80.5-million renovation, Science and Tech will offer more than 80,000 square feet of new exhibition space as well as many new interactive elements. At the media event, Alex Benay, President and CEO of the museum, said that the new space will allow the museum to display more artifacts than ever before. “People will not only be able to see the artifacts, but also interact with them,” Benay said. According to the museum, twice the amount of artifacts will be on display, some of which have never been out of storage before.
At the announcement, the museum noted that the new building will see the installation of six new galleries that will tell Canadian stories of ingenuity. Among them is a Technology in our Lives gallery that looks at how our lives are shaped by our daily interactions with technology. In this gallery, the museum said, visitors will find two new exhibits: Wearable Tech and Household Consumption.
For the Household Consumption exhibit, the museum noted that it wants Canadians to get involved by sharing photos of their house fronts (#homescape) and their refrigerator exteriors (#fridgescape). The idea is to show how the Canadian home has evolved. “This exhibit explores how Canadians’ relationship with technology has changed since the Second World War,” said Christina Tessier, Director General of the Canada Science and Technology Museum. The #fridgescape photos will be part of a historical refrigerator display.
During the media event, Proulx also showed journalists where a state-of-the-art demonstration stage will be. Proulx noted that the stage will have live broadcast capabilities, which will allow the museum to interact with future scientists at the museum and all over the world. “The stage will be in the middle of everything,” Proulx said.
But though the museum is undergoing many exciting changes, old favourites such as the Crazy Kitchen and the steam locomotives will remain. On the media tour, Proulx noted that the museum’s new structure was built around the famous trains. “We weren’t able to move them,” he said. In terms of the new structure itself, Proulx added that the galleries and exhibits will be spread out on one floor. “The museum will be a lot more accessible,” he said.
The exterior of the museum has also been improved. At the event, Benay told journalists that the building’s whole front façade is “projectable,” meaning the museum will be able to display photos, videos etc. onto the structure itself. He noted that the projectable surface will be useful for national holidays, big colouring contests and other educational projects. “We will be able to start telling stories as soon as people walk towards the museum,” Benay said. He added that the museum will be home to one of the largest LED screens in Canada.
In a press release dated Nov. 4, 2016, Benay noted that the museum is celebrating nearly 50 years as Canada’s national science and technology museum. He said the museum is setting the stage for the next 50 years. “With new mobile applications and travelling exhibitions, the public will be able to access the Museum in different ways and through new experiences,” Benay said. “It will be dynamic, interactive, and immersive.”
Thinking of visiting Ottawa in November 2017 for the museum’s reopening? As Ottawa is celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary all year, there will be plenty of great things going on. For more information on special 2017 events, browse Ottawa Tourism’s 2017 website section.