Museum sure of its ‘Pipe’ dream

Museum sure of its ‘Pipe’ dream.

The group in charge of reinventing the North Vancouver Museum and Archives is confident it can raise the necessary cash to open the new museum’s doors in just three years.

Last year, the City of North Vancouver gave the go-ahead for a new waterfront location for the museum, which would be located in the Pipe Shop on Lot 4 of the old shipyards site – if the museum’s task force can raise half of the $10 million needed to build and develop a business plan.

On this basis, the city committed to paying about half the new museum’s projected costs. At the Monday night meeting, city council heard from the museum’s task force on the fundraising feasibility study to raise the remaining $5.25 million.

“It’s told us we have an ambitious but achievable goal,” Don Evans, the museum’s campaign chairman, said of the study presented to council. “I’m confident now that we can meet the targets to have the funding in place to open the museum in July 2017, which is our target.”

The study was completed with the help of KCI, a Canadian organization that assists philanthropic groups. It recommends the museum set a private-sector goal of $2.25 million, with the remainder of the project costs funded through different levels of government.

“For an internal review perspective, people we spoke to, we asked ‘What do you think of the museum?’ and, ‘What do you think other people think about it?’ And the feeling internally pretty consistently was others see it as old and musty,” said Rose Terzariol, KCI vicepresident.

Input was gathered from various sources, such as a review with three comparable organizations across Canada, an internal review with people from the museum and an external consultation with 25 people, according to Terzariol.

“Almost all the participants felt the museum should broaden its scope to the entire North Shore, not just North Vancouver, and they also felt the name led to the old and musky perspective and they should look at a new, hipper name for the museum,” she added. “Responses to the plans were relatively favourable, although many indicated they wanted to see a much more detailed business plan.”

While the goal is to secure $3 million in additional government support from the provincial and federal levels, the project leaders are confident the fundraising goal can be met since the study identified about $410,000 in potential gifts from personal and corporate levels.

“Based on interview feedback, the museum’s profile is extremely low,” Terzariol noted about the study’s additional findings. “There is limited understanding about the need for a new museum.”

Terzariol said the fundraising campaign can be broken down into three phases: building a solid platform by obtaining $3 million in government support; implementing the targeted campaign phase by securing leadership level gifts of $100,000-plus from the private sector adding up to more than $1 million; and launching the public campaign to secure the remaining needed by the private sector.

Overall, council supported the feasibility study’s findings, including the fact that neither the city nor the district would be expected to shell out more funds than expected for the museum – except in the case of inflation.

The district and city have been splitting the current museum’s annual $1-million operating costs for many years.

Coun. Pam Bookham said that while council often hears about the public’s fear of the eroding heritage and history in the city, the new museum is an opportunity for both residents and visitors to gain a better understanding of “how this part of the world came to be.”

When the new museum was pitched to council last summer, it included three thematic galleries of human and natural history, a children’s gallery and other components delivered with interactive and virtual tools.

The new museum is a part of the massive overhaul eyed for the waterfront as the vision for Lot 5, as revealed in February, could include a 15,000-square-foot ice rink in winter/amphitheatre and plaza with water features in the summer, a three-storey building with commercial space and a ferris wheel.

© North Shore News

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