Water damage to roof forces New Brunswick museum to close its doors
SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- New Brunswick's provincial museum has been forced to shut its doors until further notice, but this time it's not because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Repairs are underway to the roof at the exhibition centre in Market Square in Saint John, N.B. the latest in a long line of building issues facing the facility and threatening what's inside.
Protective plastic sheeting covers the exhibits inside the New Brunswick Museum's industry gallery -- shielding the items here from the elements.
"There's been a few new leaks and water issues that have required us to basically cover a lot of stuff up with plastic, move a lot of stuff, have curators starts to clean things off," says Bill Hicks, the museum's CEO.
With roof repairs underway, the museum's exhibition centre, located in Saint John's Market Square, has been closed to the public until further notice.
Rain on the Thanksgiving weekend led to a small part of the ceiling in the shipbuilding gallery collapsing and falling down onto some ship models and panels.
"Our latest issue did cause some water damage to some artifacts," said Peter Larocque of the museum's humanities department."We removed about 128 artifacts from our industry and marine history exhibition space; there were eight items that were directly impacted."
In a statement, the provincial department of transportation and infrastructure says it's aware of the damage and is working with the landlord to address the situation.
Building issues like these, however, are unfortunately nothing new for the facility.
It's been almost two years since the provincial government cancelled a project to build a brand new museum in Saint John, which would have put both the research and collections centre and the exhibition centre together under one roof.
"We're really at a point where we've talked to lots of people through a number of provincial governments and it's really time to address it," Hicks said.
Hicks says this can't be kicked further down the road and must be addressed now.
Meanwhile, the province says work continues to find a "sustainable solution" to the museum's facility problems.