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|Location||Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada|
|Type||provincial human and natural history museum|
|Architect||Herbert Henry Gatenby Moody Moody and Moore|
The Manitoba Museum, previously the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature is the largest museum in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. It is located close to City Hall. The museum was designed by Herbert Henry Gatenby Moody of Moody and Moore in 1965.
The museum is the largest heritage centre in Manitoba and focuses on human and natural heritage. It has planetarium shows and a Science Gallery hall. The Institute for Stained Glass in Canada has documented the stained glass at the Manitoba Museum.
History of the Museum
In 1879, the Historical and Scientific Society of Manitoba began officially to collect and preserve its heritage at some unknown location. In the early 1890s, E. Thompson Seton wrote about the Manitoba Museum, which was reportedly housed in the basement of Winnipeg's City Hall. Those collections appear to have been dispersed, and by 1900 there was no public museum in Winnipeg. There were, however, significant private collectors and from 1911 to the early 1920s material from their collections was exhibited in the Exposition Building of the former Winnipeg Industrial Bureau at Main and Water. The present museum holds some of these collections although most were dispersed.
In 1932, the Natural History Society of Manitoba, the Winnipeg Board of Trade, and the Auditorium Commission founded the Manitoba Museum Association. The Manitoba Museum officially opened its doors on December 15, 1932 in the newly built Civic Auditorium (now the Provincial Archives Building) on Vaughan Street. The museum remained in that location, together with the Winnipeg Art Gallery, until 1967. Critical support for outreach programs and exhibits came from the Carnegie Corporation and Junior League. Professors at the University of Manitoba, formerly the Manitoba Agriculture College, played significant roles in the museum's development. The museum was run by volunteer Honorary Curators, with assistance from other dedicated volunteers and a small staff.
As the museum grew in acquisitions and attendance, the need for an expanded facility became critical, and in 1954 the Board began planning a new institution, which would reflect the values of the time. They consulted extensively with the American Museum of Natural History and the Hayden Planetarium. Funding came in large part from federal project sources designed to create new Canadian cultural facilities for the 1967 Canadian Centennial commemoration.
In 1964, a proposal for a museum and planetarium was submitted to the Manitoba government headed by Premier Duff Roblin. The proposal stated that: "Manitoba needs a Modern Museum of Man and Nature. Not a collection of stuffed birds, antiquated firearms or dusty rocks – but a living history of man and his environment, tracing the evolution of Manitoba's resources, industry and culture, past and present, and pointing the way, through research, to the future. To inform, instruct and educate by interpreting nature to man and their effect on each other in the function of a Modern Museum of Man and Nature."
In 1965, provincial legislation dissolved the unincorporated Manitoba Museum Association and incorporated the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature and the Manitoba Planetarium, and the location as part of the planned Manitoba Centennial Centre was announced. Paid curatorial positions were created, and the former volunteer curators were appointed to the Museum Advisory Council. Most of the invaluable collections were transferred to the new corporation and during 1968-69, while the new building was being completed; the collections were put in storage.
Lieutenant Governor Richard Bowles opened the Planetarium on May 15, 1968, and the new museum facilities were officially opened in July, 1970 by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II to commemorate the province's Centennial.
At the time of the official opening only the Orientation Gallery and part of the Grasslands Gallery were finished. Other galleries opened as follows: September 1970 - Alloway Hall (now Festival Hall); 1970/71/72 - parts of Grasslands Gallery ; January 1973 - Earth History Gallery ; December 1973 - Urban Gallery ; December 1974 - Nonsuch Gallery ; March 1976 - Arctic Subarctic Gallery ; November 1980 - Boreal Forest Gallery ; May 1986 - Touch the Universe Science Gallery ; March 1995 - New Alloway Hall ; May 2000 - HBC Gallery ; September 2003 - Parklands/Mixed Woods Gallery ;
The planetarium and museum were integrated as one corporation in 1988, and in 1996 the corporate name returned to the original Manitoba Museum. The museum formally began using the name The Manitoba Museum in 2002.
In 1994, the Hudson's Bay Company designated the museum as the permanent home for its historic material collection, which portrays more than three centuries of the company's colourful history. In 1996, construction got underway for a new wing to house this magnificent collection. The new wing was officially opened in September, 1998, and the new HBC Gallery opened on May 2, 2000.
When the last major gallery, Parklands/Mixed Woods, opened in September 2003, the grand design for a museum to portray the human and natural history of all of Manitoba was complete.
The Manitoba Museum is the first Canadian museum to recreate marine life as it was 450 million years ago. A virtual underwater observatory shows the Hudson’s Bay region during the Ordovician period. Manitoba is home to the giant trilobite.
The collections in the museum reflect the heritage of Manitoba. The interpretive galleries are Earth History, Arctic/Sub-Arctic, Boreal Forest, Nonsuch, Hudson's Bay Company, Parklands/Mixed Woods, Grasslands and Urban.
Together these explore the history and environment of the province from its northern Arctic coast to its southern prairie grasslands. In particular the museum is famed for its Urban Gallery, which recreates a Winnipeg street scene in the 1920s.
A renewed Science Gallery opened in 2008 replacing the 'Touch the Universe' Gallery.
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