Transforming the Joseph Brant Museum

A small crowd on October 13 gathered to watch celebrations led by White Pine Dancers from the First Nations for the expansion of Burlington's Joseph Brant Museum.

The museum located at 1240 North Shore Boulevard East is a 1937 replica of the house Mohawk native Joseph Brant, Thayendanegea, built on a 1798 Crown land grant. Joseph Brant, Thayendanegea, lived from 1742 to 1807. In 1798, the Mohawk and British captain was granted 3,450 acres at the head-of-the-lake (Burlington Bay) by King George the third.

“The Joseph Brant Museum transformation will help us celebrate the important history of our First Nations’ people, including Burlington founder Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea), as we transform into a major exhibition and heritage centre, adding to the wonderful cultural spaces that exist along Burlington’s waterfront," said Mayor Rick Goldring.

"This project is a great example of collaboration between the city, our federal and provincial partners, the Burlington Museums Foundation and our community.”

The expansion by contractor Aquicon Construction, on behalf of the City of Burlington, will add more than 12,000 square feet to its current size. This will allow the Joseph Brant Museum to become a cultural destination and a place to host national exhibitions and the collection of artifacts.

The current 5,000-square-foot museum will be expanded to provide barrier-free space for gallery displays, interactive programming, the storage of collections and community outreach. The transformation will increase the space to 17,000 square feet and the construction will take 18 months, depending on weather to complete.

The total project amount is approved at about $11 million, which includes a contingency fund and allows for cost increases due to a winter construction period. Funding includes:

$2.9 million from the City of Burlington $4.5 million from the Government of Canada $1.5 million from the Province of Ontario $2.5 million from the Joseph Brant Museum Foundation The museum has 25,000 artifacts and receives about 18,000 visitors a year. The new space will meet all the display and security criteria to attract national travelling exhibits.

Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport and MPP for Burlington announced an additional $1 million funding from the province for the museum's expansion. “Ontario’s rich and diverse cultural heritage gives our communities identity and character, and it enhances our sense of place and pride in where we live," said McMahon.

"Conserving our cultural heritage reflects what we value about our past, what we have learned from it and what we want future generations to know. The Joseph Brant Museum has managed to encompass all of that, and more."

Karina Gould, Minister of Democratic Institutions, MP for Burlington was also part of the celebrations. “The Joseph Brant Museum is an important space in our community that provides a window into Burlington’s rich cultural past and early foundations," said Gould. "Cultural spaces like the Joseph Brant Museum allow Canadians to have greater access to our arts and culture. I look forward to watching the progress of the construction of the new facilities. “

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