SUMMERSIDE – Although not making headlines, discussions surrounding a provincial museum for P.E.I. are ongoing.
Summerside historian George Dalton said interest in the museum has picked up and the P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation has been laying the groundwork for the discussions.
P.E.I. is the only province without a provincial museum.
“All advocates of history and natural history, are hoping that the Island’s need to have a provincial museum is edging closer,” he said. “The history group in Summerside has attended all past meetings to try and get this museum for the province. We are patiently waiting, just like many Islanders and hope that there will be a window of opportunity to make it happen.”
Dalton said the need for a provincial museum will never go away.
“What nicer legacy could we leave for the Island people than to have the provincial museum become a reality?” he said.
One of the issues that needs to be dealt with is the location of the facility. The foundation has been looking at Founders Hall in Charlottetown as a possible site.
“They’ve been eyeballing that as a potential museum,” Dalton said.
He said the Natural History Association of Canada has been in town the last few days and they are speaking in favour of a museum.
Dalton said there has been some preliminary discussion around aiming the establishment of a provincial museum for 2017.
“But in the meantime, which is important, is their organization, and the different stakeholders are going to have to come together and start the process of seeking some private funding,” he said. “If that happens, when they push this forward in the next few years, they can say to the feds and the province, we’re not just looking for handouts. We want to be part of the solution. That’s the way to go.”
Dalton said there are seven community museums across the province and these would remain with the provincial museum.
“The provincial museum would be the hub and we have the seven sites and other small, unofficial community museums, all of those could feed off of the main museum,” he said. “There are all kinds of artifacts at that site in the Artifactory in Charlottetown that refer to the history of Summerside. They’re only too glad to loan us that for exhibitions.”