The oldest continuing museum in Canada is in need of a makeover.

The Board of Directors for the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John say it’s running out of storage room for artifacts, and needs a new roof.

“This building is packed to the gills,” says Director of Zoology, Don McAlpine. “We have no space left. There are health and safety issues in this building that effect staff and visitors and users of the collection, volunteers. We need to move forward to deal with those issues and we need to deal with it now.”

Board chair, John Irving says it’s not just what’s inside that needs to be protected, but the building itself is a piece of history that also needs some work.

“We have a plan, and the next part of our plan would see funding to allow us to complete the detailed engineering study,” explains Irving. “So we could get a precise view of costs.”

Irving says at the moment he predicts around 40 million dollars will be needed.

Half would be used to build onto the current facility, to store artifacts.

The other half would be used to make improvements to the current working quarters.

“There are issues with the integrity of the structure,” says McAlpine. “We’ve got ventilation problems; we’ve got large quantities of flammable fluids that are stored on site here that are used for preserving specimens. The building was never built with the storage of these kinds of things in mind, and we have no fire suppression in the building.”

With little room left in the building, space is becoming a big issue, especially with artifacts being brought in regularly. 

There’s no date on when work will begin, but staff say their deadline is 2017, when the museum will celebrate its 175th anniversary.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ashley Dunbar.