Central P.E.I. museum part of new government RFP

·2 min read
The P.E.I. Museum has thousands of artifacts in storage. (Shane Hennessey/CBC - image credit)
The P.E.I. Museum has thousands of artifacts in storage. (Shane Hennessey/CBC - image credit)

The P.E.I. government is once again looking at the Island's museum system and where a central museum might fit into the picture.

Earlier this month the province issued a request for proposals to create a new strategic plan for the museum system, which currently operates seven heritage sites and has a central collections facility, but no central museum.

Included in the RFP is a provision that, "Consideration must also be given to the creation of a central provincial museum."

Matthew MacRae, executive director of the P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation, said thoughts about a central museum are only a part of a much larger plan.

"What we're trying to do is keep an open mind to whatever the possibilities are for a central provincial museum and what that can look like," said MacRae.

"We're really thinking about the future, about how we can continue to engage Islanders and visitors at our sites, but also online, because that's becoming a major component of museums around the world."

Beyond a central museum

Discussions of a central museum go back many years. One was promised in 2008, and the current government said two years ago the idea was under discussion.

While a new building could be part of the strategic plan, that plan will not be centred around a new building, said MacRae.

The RFP lays out six main objectives, including preserving heritage, developing exhibitions, creating education programs, and reaching a wider audience through digital platforms.

In 2019 the government estimated a central museum would cost $7.5 million. MacRae said as the situation now stands, there is no cost estimate and no thoughts about where the money might come from.

Kirk Pennell/CBC
Kirk Pennell/CBC

"We're at the stage of kind of looking at what it is that we'd like to do," he said.

"Once we know what we'd like to do, I think then the next step will be looking at what funds are available and how can we access them."

The RFP closes Oct. 13, and MacRae said creating a strategic plan could take close to a year.

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