Tag Archives: Museum

Iconic reminder of railway history is being pushed from place to place in North Vancouver | The Global Canadian

From the Global Canadian:  for those wondering where our PGE Station is:

A rare railway structure dating back to 1913 lies forgotten and abandoned as a new glitzy city shapes up at the Foot of Lonsdale. The iconic reminder of BC’s railway history and pioneer spirit was temporarily moved to a city-owned vacant lot on Alder Street to make way for the new Polygon Gallery and other buildings at the Foot of Lonsdale in 2014.

This ‘designated municipal heritage building’ was supposed to be back to the Foot of Lonsdale in 2015. Three years later, this seminal structure lies neglected and forgotten by a council too focussed on developing and reshaping the city. A study by a city consultant even suggested the PGE building could be converted into an ice cream shop or coffee shop in efforts to keep it on the waterfront, but that never happened. Those who value history may have to wait another few years before the council decides what it will do with the PGE building.

Communications manager for the City of North Vancouver, Connie Rabold, said council decided in 2014 that the relocation of PGE Station be referred to the Waterfront Park Master Plan process, which is scheduled for 2020. The abandoned building is a painful sight for former journalist John Kendrick, whose accompanying picture documents the council’s broken promise on the building. “It seemed to have been conveniently forgotten and that is certainly no way to treat a key part of our community’s heritage,” Kendrick said.

“This iconic piece of North Van’s history has been getting treated like this for decades.  For the longest time, it sat on the grass in Mahon Park behind Burdett stadium (where nobody much knew what it was), being used as an annex to the North Van Museum, until it was finally decided to move it back to the its original site at bottom Lonsdale.  As we now know, that wasn’t to last very long. It’s now sitting in a lonely corner of the municipality overlooking the grain elevators, where nobody sees it.”

Railway historian and archivist at the West Coast Railway Heritage Park in Squamish said the railway operated from the Foot of Lonsdale to Horseshoe Bay from 1914 until 1929. He said the old station has been moved several times since 1929 and faces an uncertain future considering the frenzied pace of development happening in the City of North Vancouver.

“CNV is having trouble keeping up with the development happening at the moment and there are hundreds of old homes being torn down in the name of progress. History and one old station are way down on the list of priorities. Look at how the North Vancouver Museum has been pushed around from one place to other over the years. It looks like they might now have a permanent home but it won’t be ready until 2020,” he said.

According to the Canadian Register of Historic Places, a resource funded by the federal government, the building’s heritage value is associated with its location in Lower Lonsdale, the ‘earliest, most historic area of commercial buildings on the North Shore of Burrard Inlet.’

“The railway had an important role in the economic growth of North Vancouver, providing a link to the resources of the interior of the province as well as passenger services to Horseshoe Bay and West Vancouver. The streetcar, ferry to Vancouver and PGE railway all converged at the south foot of Lonsdale Avenue, the major transportation hub on the North Shore. The PGE station serves as a reminder to the area’s historic significance.”

For Kendrick and Mills and many others City of North Vancouver citizens who value history, the PGE station is now a reminder of something entirely different: of shameless neglect and political amnesia.

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Source: Iconic reminder of railway history is being pushed from place to place in North Vancouver | The Global CanadianThe Global Canadian

City of North Vancouver cautiously approves museum in Lower Lonsale

Comment by Voices:  This is coverage of last night’s public hearing in the North Shore News.  There is so much more to be said about this project, unfortunately we can’t check the Council meeting video as of 4.00pm today Jun 28 ‘because of problems with the web-streaming’ of which we were aware last night.  So our comments will be coming when the link is fixed.

Link to article:

The North Vancouver Museum and Archives has found a new home in Lower Lonsdale – with about 12 storeys of condos on top. City of North Vancouver council voted unanimously Monday night to approve . . .

Source: City of North Vancouver cautiously approves museum in Lower Lonsale

Museum supporters rally for Site 8

from the North Shore News:

After 30 years of looking for a new place to hang the past, North Vancouver’s Museum and Archives may have found a new home – but they’ll have to make a compelling business case before they can move in.

Council is considering a 12-storey, 117-unit residential tower perched on a commercial podium at West Esplanade and Carrie Cates Court. The site includes 16,155 square feet which could be given to the city, potentially for the museum.

Council sent the project to public hearing Monday despite several councillors expressing reservations over the lack of a business plan.

There should be no further costs to the city or any requests for funds, according to Coun. Craig Keating.

The city provided $100,000 for the museum to undertake several studies, including a business plan. That business plan was not complete in time for Monday’s council meeting, much to the chagrin of Coun. Rod Clark.

“The taxpayer should have the right to know that they’re not giving away millions to a developer who’s going to walk away,” Clark said.

Council voted against putting the museum in the Pipe Shop earlier this year, which Clark called a much more suitable location. “(Site 8) won’t be nearly as attractive, it’ll be much more difficult to find. And I have to see those business numbers, that business case, before I can support it.”

A few rows of the council chamber were occupied by museum supporters clad in blue T-shirts who were there to advocate for a new home for the museum.

Serving as city council’s representative to the museum commission, Coun. Don Bell supported putting the museum in a new city-owned building.

“This provides an opportunity for the museum that was lost,” he said, calling the project a way to “reinforce a cultural precinct in Lower Lonsdale.”

The site is the last option in the neighbourhood, according to NVMA commission chair Sanford Osler.

“This site will allow us to meet our mission without requiring additional ongoing financial support from the two North Vancouver municipalities,” he said.

The need for a new building is pressing, noted Mayor Darrell Mussatto.

“We do need a space for the museum. The building it’s in now is tired, it’s old, it’s done.”

The museum’s finances were an acute concern at the meeting, particularly after plans for a museum on the Shipyards were scuttled when NVMA organizers fell short of raising $5 million before Dec. 31, 2015.

Without a solid business plan, Coun. Holly Back said she was concerned the city might end up trying to figure out what to do with 16,155 square feet of empty space.

“I much prefer the money so that we can do with it what we want rather than getting a space that we’re not sure what we’re going to do with if the museum can’t come up with the funding,” she said.

It would cost the city approximately $11 million to find a similar space, according to city staff.

If the project is approved, Polygon would pay the city $8.7 million. That payment would depend on the city selling 120 Carrie Cates Court and its share of Rogers Lane to Polygon at market value.

Back was also wary of the building’s height of 138 feet.

The building would be far taller than the 75-foot limit allowed under the official community plan. However, the site is considered a special study area by the OCP which: “indicates a willingness to consider density transfer from a donor site,” according to a staff report.

That transfer could take the form of 18,553 square feet from a city-owned site at 105 Carrie Cates Court, the site of a forthcoming gallery.

The building’s floor space ratio – which measures total floor space against the size of the lot – would be 4.07.

The project’s total floor area is 160,708 square feet.

The occupants of the building’s commercial podium was of special interest to Coun. Linda Buchanan, who expressed concern the corner would be filled with banks, insurance companies, and other businesses that tend to turn out the lights very easy.

The project also includes four levels of underground parking housing 266 stalls, including six spots that would be given to the city.

– See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/news/museum-supporters-rally-for-site-8-1.2278664#sthash.1yXL0itt.dpuf

Source: Museum supporters rally for Site 8

Museum and Hidden Agenda for the Shipyards


Complete document: Blank 262

By: Kerry Morris – March 6, 2016

Were Keating and Mussatto being truthful when they publicly positioned the Museum as a perpetual money losing burden to City taxpayers, or were they and BDO telling a pre-determined version of the truth?

The Museum and Archives committee were asked to hire consultants to examine the true operating costs and income potential of a Museum located at the City’s Pipe Shop. So they did as they were instructed to do. First they hired Lord Cultural Resources. Lord’s job was to bench mark the Museum’s marketplace potential in the setting of the Pipe Shop, in terms of income, expense and attendance, and then determine what its profit and loss potential would be in that setting. Here is the link to that report (http://nvma.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/ BusinessCaseSummary.pdf). Lord is a highly respected global consulting firm with many successful projects to its credit. (http://www.lord.ca/).

The City asked for a second review, this time by a proven accounting firm. So the Museum and Archives committee hired Grant Thornton LLP, a highly respected International accounting firm with a global reputation. Grant Thornton built on The Lord analysis and did not disclose any findings that Lord’s analysis was in anyway flawed, which would indeed have been very hard to do. Lord was quite clear the financial performance of the Museum would compel quality skilled managers to keep a good eye on the bottom line and a strong hand on the financial tiller of the operation. Grant Thornton’s report showed the Museum in the Pipe Shop wouldn’t lose the $172,000 Keating, Mussato and the rest of the ‘Slate’ now claim, but that it would in fact break even. That is not to say that either Lord or Grant Thornton sugar coated the truth. They made clear that in order to break even, after existing funding commitments, the Museum would be compelled to adjust its programming and pricing to reflect market realities in a dynamic business environment, competing for each disposable buck. And that was only one of several principal reasons for the Museum to be located in the Shipyards Pipe Shop, in close proximity to the high traffic at the Friday Night market, just a short walking distance from the Sea-Bus and a large downtown populous. It also happens to be the physical location from which the City of North Vancouver made its mark on the world by building and refitting hundreds of ships which helped Allied Forces succeed in both European and Pacific theatres during WW-II. We have a storied past and there is truthfully no better place to tell that story than from the Pipe Shop setting (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DdTwuPcie1s).

But The Lord report underpinned a political issue that the Mayor and his ‘Slate’ have railed against throughout their entire mandate. The Lord study highlighted that as a community of little more than 52,000, the Museum would have to draw from a larger audience to be successful. In order to do so, Museum planners intended to tell what they saw as a regional story, which included both North Shore Districts as well as the City’s neighbouring First Nations peoples, whose ancestors have lived here since long before the North Shore was settled by European and Asian immigrants.

The Mayor and his ‘Slate’ have long opposed any mechanism that might work as a vehicle that may cause residents to think in terms of a single municipal entity for the North Shore, and I believe they saw a regional museum at the Pipe Shop as a potential problem that might cause residents to think about forming a more regional local government structure. Not to mention the fact that the Museum at the Pipe Shop may also work against the dreams and aspirations of at least one local developer and Mussatto supporter.

 The Mayor’s ‘Slate’, unhappy with the location of the Museum at the Shipyards, a developing story which Mussatto has begun to describe as his ‘Mayoral Legacy’, took the unprecedented action of compelling a second accounting report undertaken to further test both Lord and Grant Thornton’s findings. This brings the total consulting expenditures on Museum studies thus far to an amount in excess of $250,000, and yet we still don’t have a Museum, or a clue where it will finally be located. More importantly, it raises the profile of a new political strategy and reality. If a study portrays an adverse outcome versus the political winds of the day, the City will now spend more and more taxpayer monies on more and more analysis until it can eventually secure the outcome local politicians like. And what kind of integrity does that disclose of our public officials? Not a good one! It paints a picture of a rather dishonest crowd.

The whole process discloses an uncomfortable truth which is that the Museum did not do all its homework in preparing to wage war with the City’s shifting political landscape, and the City for its part was less than forthright, if not downright dishonest in its public disclosure, positioning of the facts, and back room dealings regarding this most important cultural imperative. Both groups owed it to taxpayers to do a better job.

First, the City failed to disclose that it was already receiving a huge financial contribution specifically earmarked for a Museum purpose. It seems that when Pinnacle came to the City in 2006 seeking more density for all of the one dozen high rises it sought to develop on the Shipyard lands, a little horse-trading was undertaken. That horse-trading eventually resulted in the City receiving long-term control of three separate land parcels, each numerically identified.

The income being derived from the Tap and Barrel pub lands (parcel 7) were specifically ear-marked to go to a museum located at the Shipyards and the failure of the City to use these monies for the intended purpose is not just immoral, it is reprehensible.

The Pipe Shop lease has been reported as being as little as $30,000 per month ($360,000) per year, to as much as $80,000 per month ($960,000) per year. Both amounts explain the incredible price of a Beer, glass of wine or meal, but in any event would make quick work of any $172K annual loss complained about by Keating, Mussatto and the ‘Slate’. In reality, even if the BDO report compelled and commissioned at the City’s directive to kill the museum was correct, there would still be in excess of $180,000 of income left over from the Tap and Barrel after any loss. So Keating’s claim the museum represented an unreasonable taxpayer burden was untruthful!

Secondly, although the Museum could have done a better job with fund raising the City could also have allowed a longer period to secure funding. It was Keating and Mussatto who sought the tighter time limits, unlike the latitude granted to the photo Gallery which has already broken ground yet still hasn’t secured 100% of its project funding needs, and may actually generate an annual loss which will potentially become a burden on the City if that does happen.

However, what’s only been discussed behind closed doors thus far is the City and the Mayor’s program to scuttle the museum’s fund-raising efforts. Example: Did you know that Richardson’s has committed some $400,000 to the City for use at the Shipyard lands to be used as the City sees fit. This donation was in essence compensation for the impact of the grain silos and the political capital used-up by Mussatto and the ‘Slate’ in supporting the Moodyville densification. The Richardson’s commitment allows the money to go wherever the City decides, but Darrell and the ‘Slate’ have decided on a water park which will be the summertime use for the outdoor ice rink. This announcement will follow soon as the City is also about to announce the new Pinnacle proposal for development of Site 5, which will give Pinnacle more hotel rooms and convention space on that site.

That’s right, we’re going to give Pinnacle back the very land we took in trade for increased density to fund the museum at the Shipyards that we’re now not getting, and they get the density to-boot. If the words immoral crooks come to mind, then we’re on the same page. I’m thinking the same thing. But the fact is that the Richardson commitment could just as easily have been dedicated to the Museum, but for the fact that the Museum is not a part of the Mayor’s vision for his Legacy. Special note should also be made of the fact that Mussatto telling public gatherings the Museum in the Pipe-Shop “…wasn’t gonna happen…”, which words were also echoed by Keating in at least one Chamber of Commerce Board meeting over a year ago, didn’t help the business community with its interest in supporting the Museum. So imagine how the Port businesses felt about rubbing our little dictator the wrong way, and so they did not! They played ball and did not support the Museum. This was a problem for the committee who had counted on support from the likes of Washington Group and others for a museum that would showcase the North Shore’s shipbuilding history, especially in light of the $8 Billion shipbuilding contract currently underway at Washington Marine (Seaspan) Vancouver Shipyard, with noise PM Trudeau may further expand this contract.

What was equally interesting was that despite a huge fundraising initiative, nowhere on the City’s website, a PR mechanism for the Slate’s plans for our community, could you find one word about the Museum’s donation drive. The Photo Gallery initiative gets high profile support, but the Museum not so much. And when it came time for the Harper Government to once again seek re-election, Saxton came out 1 day before the writ was dropped pledging $2.2M for the Museum. In that Press Release, wherein you will typically find at minimum a perfunctory thank you from the local Mayor, the Mayor’s failure to provide even a thank you spoke loudest of all. Mussatto would not have voted for the museum project at the Pipe Shop under any circumstances as he had already written it out of the location in the deal he has negotiated behind the scenes with Pinnacle for his ‘Legacy’ initiative.

Lastly, when the City threw away the Flamborough Head and kept the $850,000 in donations it set a precedent. That being, if you don’t have the support of the Mayor and his ‘Slate’, your donation is but a tax grab. Donors were listening!



Plug Pulled on North Vancouver Museum – Daphne Bramham

Daphne Bramham: Plug pulled on $10-million North Vancouver Museum
An artist’s concept of the proposed North Vancouver Museum on the Lonsdale waterfront, which was recently deemed “too risky” by city council.
Photograph by: Handout , Vancouver Sun

It’s a good thing Vancouver is pretty because other than scenery there’s sure not much else to look at.

Glaringly absent in this metropolitan region with its presumptions of greatness are museums. Of course, UBC’s Museum of Anthropology is spectacular. But beyond it, most museums across the region simply do the best they can in cramped quarters and usually in out-of-the way locations.

North Vancouver promised to buck that trend with its renaissance plans that included a museum as well as an art gallery on vacated shipyard lands along the waterfront.

Shovel-wielding politicians from the three levels of government proudly dug in last month to mark the construction start of the $12.25 million Polygon Gallery, which will be the new home of Presentation House. The federal, provincial and municipal governments had provided $2.5 million each, while the rest came from private donations.

But, less than two weeks later, city council pulled the rug out from under the proposed $10-million North Vancouver Museum, which was to have been a regional attraction with interactive exhibits and artifacts displayed in a restored shipyard building just a few steps from the art gallery.

The numbers simply didn’t add up, says Mayor Darrell Mussatto. He echoed the conclusion of the accountants at BDO Canada, who were hired by the city to review the plans for the museum. They pronounced the project “too risky to contemplate” and “no commercial case” to be made.

One of the accountants’ touchstones was the failed Storyeum — a private, quasi-museum and theatrical experience that lasted less than two years in Gastown.

The other was the Museum of Vancouver, which had an operating loss of $82,000 in 2014 on a $2.1-million budget even with increased attendance and an 18-per-cent jump in membership.

Because of the dearth of a good history museum to draw a comparison with, the accountants concluded: “It is very difficult to get a historic museum profitable in Vancouver.”

And far from believing that if you build it they will come, council agreed.

When museum fundraisers came up $1 million shy of the $5 million needed to get the city’s matching funds, council in a secret and split vote took away the museum’s promised spot in the city-owned Pipe Shop.

Instead, the city will spend some money adding heating and washrooms to the 10,000-square-foot heritage building and try to maximize rental revenue that last year brought in close to $350,000.

Museum supporters rightly point out that the accountants’ and the city’s conclusions were based on the faulty premise that public museums must not only break even, but generate profits.

They rightly note that it’s a rare museum that doesn’t have an annual operating deficit, which is why most are non-profits that do various forms of fundraising throughout the year.

But what the museum supporters seem to have been too polite to mention is that government-supported sports and convention facilities rarely have to pass the same rigorous financial hoops as museums.

The B.C. government paid $514 million for new roof on BC Place even though it has never and likely will never break even or turn a profit. The same is true for the $883-million Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre and the millions more spent on other 2010 Winter Olympics infrastructure.

Those were deemed to be investments, justified on the basis of their spinoff benefits.

Yet, nowhere in the BDO analysis of the North Vancouver museum were spinoff benefits acknowledged. This is despite the fact that a regional museum flanked by a highly regarded art gallery along the North Shore waterfront would likely have made it even more attractive for people to take a SeaBus ride across the harbour and spend time at adjacent restaurants and shops at Lonsdale Quay.

Mussatto, who was a longtime proponent of the museum at the shipyard, insists he remains committed to finding it a new home on or near the water. But he also pointed out that it’s unfair to place the blame solely on the city.

It had been willing to provide the Pipe Shop at no cost, $5 million in capital costs and annual operating grants of $500,000.

The provincial government, he said, didn’t give a single nickel.

Had it provided the $1 million that the museum asked for, we might have been treated to another spectacle of politicians at the end of shovels.

But that didn’t happen. Once again, preserving and celebrating local history isn’t judged to be worth the investment.


Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/entertainment/Daphne+Bramham+Plug+pulled+million+North+Vancouver+Museum/11726341/story.html#ixzz40XIu6KX7

WHY? Video questioning Museum decision

Why a Museum?
Why the Shipyards?
Why the PipeShop?


Save Our Museum – an open letter

NVCV -New Museum ad

The link above is an open letter running in the NS News, we urge you to read it and join in signing the petition.   Councillor Bell is bringing forward two motions for consideration on Monday Feb 15th,.
  1. Proposed Public Meeting Review of BDO Report for New Museum in the Shipyards Pipe Shop
  2. Consideration of Appropriate Sites for a New North Vancouver Museum

Open letter in part:

Dear Fellow Residents of North Vancouver,

When transparency appears to be lacking in a decision-making process at City Hall, for democracy to work, the community must call to account those involved.

On January 25th, by a split vote, North Vancouver City Councillors cancelled the Museum at the Shipyards after years of planning and fundraising. The crucial, fi nal deliberations in advance of the vote were held behind closed doors.

A majority of Council walked away from 30 years of planning for a new museum, recommendations of more than 25 studies, a campaign for a museum in the Pipe Shop that had raised $3.9 million in just 17 months (including $2.2 million in federal support), an unprecedented unity of public support including both the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, and a once-in-a-century location opportunity. And we’re still without a new museum.




Full disclosure needed on museum decision

Poignant moment during public input at Council Monday:  Former Councillor Bob Heywood reminding the Mayor of the time that he took him down to the waterfront and said “this is where the Museum should be”.

video: http://www.cnv.org/Your-Government/Council-Meetings/Council-Videos/2016-Council-Videos

Elizabeth James writing in the NS News today.   

“IT’S REAL. The City of North Vancouver has approved the project and has made a generous gift-matching commitment of $5 million. Your generous contribution will be matched dollar for dollar by the City of North Vancouver.”

– Brochure, North Vancouver Museum and Archives

Question: When is a commitment not a commitment? Answer: When fundraisers for the new museum at The Shipyards fell short of their goal and gave Mayor Darrell Mussatto and Couns. Holly Back, Linda Buchanan and Craig Keating the excuse they needed to kill the project during the Jan. 25 meeting of council.

The background: At its regular meeting July 9, 2012, City of North Vancouver council unanimously endorsed a motion that approved in principle a design concept for a new museum at the Pipe Shop on Lot 4 of the Pier Development.

Council also approved $75,000 from the Civic Amenity Fund for the purpose of funding the next steps in the planning process.

Lastly, the motion directed museum staff to report on a business plan predicting operating costs and revenues, preliminary exhibit design work, follow-up architectural work and a fundraising plan.

As the project evolved over three years, NVMA met all of the city’s provisions bar one: with the province yet to confirm its contribution, the museum’s 17-month fundraising campaign fell short of its target by 10.8 per cent.

Put another way, in a tough economy and ending at a time when potential donors were busy with Christmas holiday spending, for the museum to raise more than $3.9 million over and above the city’s “commitment” was a remarkable achievement – especially when the provincial contribution had yet to be confirmed. After money, time and effort expended, would it have hurt council to extend the Dec. 31 deadline by three months to allow NVMA to do two things: bring in the additional funds and, importantly, address statements made in a BDO Canada report to council.

Before continuing this saga, I should say that, in my opinion, a common way for politicians to kill a project is to study it to death. So after NVMA had already commissioned expert opinion from Lord Cultural Resources – an internationally renowned museum-planning firm that includes fiscal and fiduciary considerations in its reviews and recommendations – why council needed to finance yet another report from BDO is beyond me.

Suffice it to say that, in her Jan. 29, 2016 response to BDO’s Feasibility Review of New Museum Business Plans, museum director Nancy Kirkpatrick refutes one of the underpinnings to the report, namely that the new museum should be expected to make a “commercial case” for its existence.

In fact, as you can see from the American Alliance of Museums at aam-us.org, although most museums are, by nature, non-profit entities, the direct and indirect contributions they make to their communities are invaluable.

The alliance states, “Museums employ more than 400,000 Americans and directly contribute $21 billion to the U.S. economy each year and billions more through indirect spending by their visitors …” And further, that “Governments … find that for every $1 invested in museums and other cultural organizations, $7 are returned in tax revenues.”

In the case of the proposed new museum at The Shipyards, archives and ongoing exhibitions would not only inform our histories, its interactive and educational displays would enliven our appreciation of the North Shore communities in which we live and also expand students’ understanding of the society they will inherit.

One aspect of the new museum I had not thought of until I began this story is that its obvious tourism potential mirrors in many ways that of the hugely successful Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria. Although the Royal benefits financially from being a Crown corporation, its other characteristics apply equally to a new North Shore museum located exactly where it was planned – in the historic Pipe Shop.

As a tourist attraction and as a community amenity, a museum on that site would be perfectly situated near a transportation hub and within walking distance of Lower Lonsdale shopping, restaurants and accommodations. So, where lies the real problem for Mayor Mussatto – or for Coun. Keating who made the motion to kill the Pipe Shop proposal? Is it that they didn’t like the idea of a project jointly run by the city and district? Did Pinnacle not want the new museum as a neighbour? Are city coffers short of the $5-million “commitment”? Or is it simply that the mayor and his supporters on council have a more lucrative development in mind for the site?

As is often the case, what is needed here is full disclosure – disclosure that could have been revealed in the course of a North Vancouver-wide referendum on the matter. What we also need to hear loud and clear are the fully informed reactions to the news from District of North Vancouver council and the First Nations whose history would form a vital part of a museum at The Shipyards.

This is written with my best wishes to director Nancy Kirkpatrick and the NVMA team – don’t give up; your work, expertise and donors deserved so much more respect than they received.



– See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/full-disclosure-needed-on-museum-decision-1.2164321#.dpuf