New Richmond museum on the table

A city facility telling the “Richmond Story” in a community gathering space – this is what staff is recommending council endorse as they plan a new museum.

At Tuesday’s committee meeting, council will look at three options laid out by staff: a national museum, which would be a regional, national and international destination, a city museum, that would be a gather space telling the story of Richmond and a community museum, an interpretive hub  that shares local stories and links with other historical sites in the city.

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The capital cost of the three museum models varies dramatically – a national museum would cost $53 million, a city museum $17 million and a community museum, $3.4 million. Each model, however, would have an added cost or $3.5 million for a museum network linking local historical sites.

While city staff is recommending the middle model, Richmond resident John Roston is arguing for a national museum, saying this was the model favoured by the public in a consultation process in 2012. In a written response to the proposal by staff, Roston suggests co-locating a museum with hotel, which he envisions would help with the capital costs as well as the annual operating costs.

The national museum would have an operating budget of $4 million, but Roston argues it’s the only model that will attract federal and provincial funding.

The city is undertaking a cultural precinct study, which was approved in the 2019 budget, looking at long-term plans for cultural facilities in Minoru Park.

The current museum was built in 1992 and is 2,325 square feet in size. The museum also has four off-site locations for storage, totalling 12,000 square feet. There are 45,000 visitors annually to the museum.

The museum proposals will come to Tuesday's general-purposes meeting. 

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