Let us not move too fast; ponder together what is best, how to proceed
© File Photo
Founders Hall is now up for sale. It has been touted as a possible site for a new provincial museum.
Yes, it is true we are the only province without a provincial museum and we have been on the lookout for one since 1880.
We took steps in 1964 with the memorial to the Fathers of Confederation and again in 1973, creating a network of heritage sites under the wing of the new P.E.I. Heritage Foundation.
Then in 2001, Founders Hall took shape in a very carefully restored railway building, although one has to admit the exhibits were far more for tourists than for Islanders.
The point I am trying to make is that we have done something, but as we have done things, the sector has changed and we would have been unfair to ourselves if we built - as we would have - had we moved for the ‘real thing’ on those past occasions.
To build for the 2020s we must pause and ask what exactly should be built. No doubt some of you have visited the new Halifax Library or The Rooms in St. John’s. Very interesting places that make me think.
Before we move too fast, let us contemplate a direction – one that fits our needs and that we can afford, both as a capital exercise and an apportioned one.
And before we go too far, should heritage foundation and museums, natural history groups, the library and archivists all be sitting down together and talking about it – and then they should invite others in to join them.
For one thing, just take a look at how, at both the Halifax Library and St. John’s – and many other places for that matter - are dominated by a bay of computers that could answer the common needs of all.
Please, please let us not move too fast and let us ponder together what is best for us and how we should proceed.
One roof sounds good to me. Leadership is essential.
- Catherine Hennessey, Charlottetown’s best-known heritage activist, has been working to preserve and protect the city's historical distinctiveness for many years