$1M or more in provincial funding announced for Perkins House Museum renos

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$1M or more in provincial funding announced for Perkins House Museum renos

A year after promising they would repair the Perkins House Museum in Liverpool, the Nova Scotia government announced renovations for the 250-year-old building. 

Premier Stephen McNeil made the announcement at the Queens County Museum on Sunday. 

A news release from the province did not specify a funding amount, but said recent estimates on the cost of the renovations had ranged from $1 million to $1.5 million.

Design work starts next month and renovations begin this year with the re-opening expected in 2018.

The planned upgrades is one of three funding announcements the province made on Sunday, which comes as speculation swirls that an election will be called soon.

Queens County Museum and Perkins House director Linda Rafuse, who was anxiously hoping for an announcement less than a week ago, said they received a phone call a couple of days ago about the premier's visit.

"It was a pleasant surprise," she said.​

The upcoming tourism season marks 60 years since the former home of merchant and famed diarist Simeon Perkins opened as a museum. Perkins moved into the home April 18, 1767.

Engineering firm gave lower estimates

The province closed it two years ago, saying the site was structurally unsafe. Last March, officials said a timeline for repairs was being developed, but they'd been largely silent since.

The museum's board of directors wrote a letter to McNeil asking for answers earlier this month.

Rafuse said after the building — which she refers to as "she" and "her" — should be "her best and brightest" after the work.

"It'll just be a delight to finally have her doors open again for our visitors, and I know our visitors will be glad to be back in there," she said.

A Halifax-based engineering firm published a report that led to the Perkins House closure, which stated exterior walls could collapse in winter weather. Support jacks were then installed as a temporary fix. Repairs were estimated between $500,000 and $700,000.

It wasn't immediately clear Sunday why the province cited higher numbers.