Thursday, January 21, 2016

Former PEI Hospital ideal for museum

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian) Published on January 14, 2016

I have written several times regarding this matter. I am pleased to read there are still other persons deeply interested in the building of a Prince Edward Island Museum.

The project has been over studied and promised for years. Now is the time to build it in time to commemorate the 150th birthday of Canada.

The ideal location would be the grounds where the former Prince Edward Island Hospital was built and is no longer in use. It could be a beautiful area with plenty of green space and good parking facilities. Also, it would be back to back with our beautiful Fanningbank. One would compliment the other in many ways.

Indeed a “Golden Opportunity” as another writer has stated.

I appeal to all Islanders to encourage the government of Prince Edward Island to take action on this long overdue project and finally highlight our very precious legacy.

Helen M. MacPhail,

Clyde River

P.E.I.'s provincial museum belongs at the Experimental Farm Grounds

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian) Published on January 14, 2016

The proposed provincial museum should be located on the Experimental Farm Grounds bounded by Mt. Edward, Allen and University to house the many artifacts that we can gather from Island history in the past.

Paul H. Jenkins,

Charlottetown

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Montague makes pitch for new provincial museum


Steve Sharratt

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A timely call for long-overdue P.E.I. museum

Editorial published by The Guardian on December 30, 2015

© CBC photo
 Rosemary Curley

More than 13 months ago, then-Premier Robert Ghiz said a provincial museum was not an immediate priority for his government but hoped it would become a legacy project when Canada celebrates its 150th birthday in 2017. The museum was high on the list for P.E.I.’s sesquicentennial in 2014 but it failed to materialize.

In mid-November, 2014, the speech from the throne suggested the province was exploring options on a possible museum project. It was a promise first made by the Liberals during the 2007 election campaign which brought them to power and repeated again in 2008. It was pushed to the background for much of the following six years until it emerged in the throne speech in November 2014. A week later Mr. Ghiz announced he was stepping down as premier and the museum idea went out the door with him.

It’s impossible to speculate that if Mr. Ghiz had remained premier, he might have championed the museum and action would now be underway to fund, design and construct this vital missing piece of our provincial infrastructure.

Time is already running out since the start of 2016 is mere hours away. Projects for 2017’s celebrations have rarely been publicly discussed nationally or provincially.

The province decided the 2014 P.E.I. celebrations were going to be spread out across the Island, with a focus on a celebration zone on the Charlottetown waterfront while various smaller events across the Island received support and improvements. Critics saw it as a wasted opportunity when upwards of $29 million in public and private sponsorship money was in play. Yet when the party ended, there was little left but the cleanup.

To be fair, there was a huge boost in tourism during 2014 which fortunately carried over into this year with another record-breaking season. The spinoffs from the past two big tourism years benefit the entire province, but where is our permanent legacy? Could not the two have successfully co-existed?

In 1964 we were endowed with the national memorial to the Fathers of Confederation — the Confederation Centre of the Arts — the heartbeat of the city for the past 50 years.

The president of Nature P.E.I., Rosemary Curley, came out publicly this week in a guest opinion to The Guardian to put forward a case for the museum. She wants the province to tap into infrastructure funds when they are doled out early in the new year. She wants action now and maybe something might actually happen in time for the 150th national anniversary of Confederation.

There has been an uneasy quiet about plans for 2017 — both nationally and provincially. There is a feeling that these infrastructure dollars being announced early in 2016 might be our best and only chance to commemorate the 150th birthday of Canada on a major scale.

Ms. Curley ripped past governments for shirking their responsibility and is calling out the province to commit part of the promised federal infrastructure dollars to building a human and natural history museum. We are the only province without one.

 Charlottetown is again extending feelers for a new sports and entertainment civic centre. Is there enough money for both projects, or even one?

The museum proposal was raised in the recent fall sitting of the legislature but received scant attention from government, opposition or media. It was left to Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker to speak to the issue in a statement to the legislative assembly that now might be the time for Islanders to begin to dream about a museum project.

Ms. Curley thanked Mr. Bevan-Baker for recognizing this golden opportunity to develop a museum. She is also imploring the province to move ahead on this project now that there is an interest at the federal level in funding joint projects that serve the needs of Canadians in the area of social infrastructure.

The needs are many on P.E.I. but few people can argue against this long-overdue and long-promised provincial museum.

Prince Edward Islanders have been waiting more than 100 years for a museum, says Nature PEI president

CBC News
As published December 29, 2015

It is not just recent governments who are to blame for the lack of provincial museum, says Nature PEI president Rosemary Curley. (CBC)

Prince Edward Islanders have been waiting more than 100 years for a museum, says Nature PEI president.  Rosemary Curley is calling on the province to commit part of the promised federal infrastructure dollars to building a human and natural history museum.

"We've longed for one for many a year and no government has delivered as they should have," said Curley.

"Governments have shirked their responsibility over the years, and I don't mean just in the last 20 years. I don't point the finger at any one particular government. It is for over 100 years that government has steadfastly ignored this."

A museum would allow things like fossilized reptile footprints, hundreds of millions years old and recently donated to the P.E.I. Museum Foundation, to be displayed.

Fossils found 3 decades ago on P.E.I. are returning to the Island
A museum has been discussed for decades, with commitments sometimes made by provincial governments but not acted on.

Curley noted a new museum of natural history in B.C., unveiled five years ago, had a price tag of $40 million. She believes a capital campaign could raise that amount for an Island museum.

A Golden Opportunity - Let's Develop Museum of Human and Natural History

by Rosemary Curley
Guest Opinion as published in The Guardian on Dec 28, 2015



With the P.E.I. Legislature now closed, there was an important topic raised which seems to have gone relatively unnoticed by the media, and it needs recognition. Decades have passed since the Legislative Assembly created the organization charged with museum responsibility, yet major areas of the provincial museum mandate like natural history have gone unaddressed. It was the watchful eye of Green Party leader Peter Bevan-Baker who noticed this and brought forward a statement to the Assembly on November 26th.

He stated:

“With the commitment of the new federal government to spend billions of dollars on social infrastructure, now might be a wonderful time for Islanders to begin to dream again about a project long discussed and advocated: and that is, the construction of a new Provincial Museum of Human and Natural History, a state-of-the-art institution to showcase and highlight the rich legacy, and promise, of our Island province. I foresee — I dream about — a must-visit facility for every Island school student, citizen and visitor.

“The Premier talks often about that very precious inheritance of Islanders, the Gift of Jurisdiction. In my opinion, that “Gift” is rather hollow — indeed, at risk — unless pains are taken, with each new generation, to shore up and reinforce Islanders’ sense of history and identity. Also, we need to continue to learn from our past – in particular, how human beings have affected the often fragile environment of this place, and vice versa. Thus we can equip ourselves to face the future with a higher consciousness, and a greater wisdom.

“In 1970, a visionary Island Government of the day took the bold step of establishing the Prince Edward Island Heritage Foundation. In 1983, the Museum Act changed the name of the organization, added a natural history mandate, and underlined the institution’s status as the Island’s “provincial museum” Now, almost half a century later, let us be bold to finish the job and build a lovely and imaginative new facility which will be the pride of Islanders.”

Kudos to Dr. Bevan-Baker for recognizing this golden opportunity to develop a museum that tells the full story of this province, its distant geological past,  its rich paleontological treasures buried deep within, and all life forms that call it home. Nature P.E.I. shares this vision of a museum with programs that help all Islanders and visitors understand the significance of both natural and human heritage.

We implore the Government of P.E.I. to move ahead now that there is an interest at the federal level in funding joint projects that serve the needs of Canadians in the area of social infrastructure.

Rosemary Curley, is a biologist who serves as president of Nature P.E.I.: The Natural History Society of Prince Edward Island.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Peter Bevan-Baker speaking in the Legislature: Provincial Museum Statement

The following statement was made in the PEI Legislative Assembly on November 26, 2015 by Peter Bevan-Baker the leader of the Green Party of PEI.


Prince Edward Island Museum of Human and Natural History

With the commitment of the new federal government to spend billions of dollars on social infrastructure, now might be a wonderful time for Islanders to begin to dream again about a project long discussed and advocated: and that is, the construction of a new Provincial Museum of Human and Natural History, a state-of-the-art institution to showcase and highlight the rich legacy, and promise, of our Island province.  I foresee – I dream about – a must-visit facility for every Island school student, citizen and visitor.

The Premier talks often about that very precious inheritance of Islanders, the Gift of Jurisdiction. In my opinion, that “Gift” is rather hollow – indeed, at risk – unless pains are taken, with each new generation, to shore up and reinforce Islanders’ sense of history and identity. Also, we need to continue to learn from our past – in particular, how human beings have affected the often fragile environment of this place, and vice versa. Thus we can equip ourselves to face the future with a higher consciousness, and a greater wisdom….

In 1970, a visionary Island Government of the day took the bold step of establishing the Prince Edward Island Heritage Foundation.   In 1983, the Museum Act changed the name of the organization, added a natural history mandate, and underlined the institution’s status as the Island’s “provincial museum.”


Now, almost half a century later, let us be bold to finish the job and build a lovely and imaginative new facility which will be the pride of Islanders.

The statement is available via YouTube