Saturday, May 22, 2010

Museum of Nature reopens after three years of renovations

The Centretown News reports that the Museum of Nature is reopening this spring in the Victoria Memorial Museum building after three years of renovations. According to the report, it will reopen as two museums--the Museum of Man and the Museum of Natural Sciences.

"Gone are the days of the monumental exhibits that last for fifty years and look like it, [Mr. Bill Baldwin, assistant director of the museum] states emphatically."

Okay, that article is from 1972. (Click on it to view it in full size) There are a few obvious errors (it housed Parliament for a lot longer than one month), but there are nevertheless a few nuggets, like the Baldwin quote.

Regrettably, I didn't start taking photos of the museum renovations until April 2008, when they installed the columns for the lantern, and I didn't try to get access to the inside during construction. But here are a hanful of my photos from the renovations.

This shot from Metcalfe and Catherine shows the South side of the museum last June, when the Beaver Barracks building (site at left) was still in the early stages of construction:

This photo from last March shows the lantern more or less installed, with the leaded glass window still inside.

The original 1916 tower, which had been removed in 1919 becuase it was sinking in the leda clay, had an archway here. When the tower was removed, they had to fill in the archway with a window to protect it from the elements. With the current renovations and a new glass tower added, the windows can be removed and the archway restored to its original function.

Earlier this week, some finishing touches were added to the front entrance.

There is a parade today (should be on now) as part of the weekend celebration events.

Admission is free today as part of the reopening ceremonies, but that will mean it will be very busy so you should wait for another day. (Just kidding, I just want some space for when I visit today!)

The Ottawa Citizen has a lot of photos, articles, and historical views of the Museum of Nature on its special section at

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