Musée de Saint-Georges Museum has long been a repository of family memories and the community’s stories. It has grown and accumulated a wealth of family heirlooms over several generations. The buildings that hold the many precious memories are old and not able to be retrofitted to properly house artifacts to today’s standards. There are many artifacts that can not be showcased as they are lost in the abundance of gifts the museum has received. The museum needs a new building where it can care for and showcase the best of its collection.
In order to determine the size and configuration of a new building, the museum board needed to determine what the building should hold and what stories should be told. The board commissioned an Exhibits Concept Plan by the team of S. Dangerfield Interpretive Planning and XYZ Design Inc. as the first step in developing the new space. The Exhibits Concept Plan outlines what stories the community wants told and what artifacts can be used to tell that story. It provides focus and structure to organize exhibits, while also determining space requirements and costs.
The plan sets out topics and learning objectives that will be woven throughout the exhibits. The exact layout of the 16 small galleries will be determined in consultation with the museum board and architect in the next phase of the project – building design. For the concept plan, individual galleries and exhibits were seen as bubble-like alcoves flowing from a central hallway representing the river, like bubbles at the edge of a stream.
The Theme Statement is Nous, les gens de la Rivière! We are the people of the river.
The Theme Statement provides the subject – the stories of the people, past and present, which live along the Winnipeg River. It invites the visitor to meet the people, to make a personal connection. It also denotes a tone of pride and strength – this is our story, this is who we are. The museum will be bilingual, culturally diverse and take a regional focus. It will include the stories of the people the length of the river from Lake of the Woods to Lake Winnipeg, with the greatest focus from Lac du Bonnet to Sagkeeng.