The expansion project currently underway at the Museum of Surrey includes updates to the original building, and the construction of a new gallery space. (Samantha Anderson)

VIDEO: Behind the scenes look at the Museum of Surrey’s $15.7-million expansion

New spaces, new exhibitions, new Indigenous Hall and Kids Zone, and new perspectives

When the Museum of Surrey opens this fall, it will not only offer new spaces and exhibits but also new perspectives.

The $15.7-million expansion project was well underway when the Cloverdale Reporter visited the construction site in early May.

The expansion adds 12,000 square feet of space to the museum’s current footprint of 24,000 square feet. As well as adding a new exhibition space, it will triple the size of the Kids Explore Zone, create an Indigenous Hall, and allow for updates to the existing permanent exhibition space.

Designs for the Kids Explore Zone were almost completed when Museum Manager Lynn Saffery spoke to the Reporter in early May. The space will focus on sustainability initiatives in the City of Surrey — showcasing, for instance, the city’s new bio-fuel facility. It will be a permanent exhibition with “flexible components” that adapt to the temporary exhibition in a neighbouring gallery.

The Indigenous Hall will be created in the upper east wing of the existing museum. It is being built and designed by the Seyem’ Qwantlen Business Group, a Kwantlen First Nation company.

“They are building that from a completely local Surrey perspective. They are engaging with Kwantlen First Nation, Katzie First Nation and Semiahmoo First Nation so that the theme and the storyline is completely local,” said Saffery.

Museums and archives, he explained, are often guilty of presenting “a sort of pan-Indigenous work … forgetting [what] the local First Nation perspective can give us.”

Opening a space where the community can tell its own story falls into the Museum of Surrey’s new vision of being a “people museum.”

“Traditionally, museums have used objects and archival images to tell a story,” said Saffery. “Now people and communities will tell a story, and we will use those objects and images to support those stories.”

What it means is that the museum’s curator, researchers and programming teams will reach out to experts in the community to gather information, rather than telling communities the information that they derive from artifacts and images.

“It kind of turns everything on its head,” said Saffery. “The community has ownership and the power to tell their stories.”

The permanent exhibitions in the existing gallery will also be updated to showcase more of Surrey’s diversity.

“In the celebrations area of the museum, for instance, there was previously three cases on the Cloverdale Rodeo. Now there will be a case on Vaisakhi, a case about the rodeo, and a case about the Chinese New Year.”

Behind the scenes, there will be improvements to the areas of the museum used by staff and volunteers — a new fabrication shop is in the works, as are upgrades to office space and collection storage.

Outside of the upgraded museum and the new 12,000 square-foot addition will be a heritage square. The Anderson Cabin, already located at the museum site, will be moved to a new foundation, and the Anniedale School and the 1881 Town Hall will be moved to the site during the summer months.

The 1881 Town Hall is located inside the BC Vintage Truck Museum building a short distance away from the Museum of Surrey. Volunteers at the truck museum have made appeals to the Surrey Heritage Advisory Commission to request the hall be left where it is, as moving the town hall will directly impact their site. Support beams run through the town hall, and it is unclear how much of the building will need to be demolished in order to extract the town hall.

“Right now [the city is] working on planning the way the 1881 Town Hall will be extracted from the truck museum,” said Saffery. “The way they’re going to do it is with little impact as possible. However, the reality is that we’re moving a whole building out of another building, so there’s going to be quite an impact.”

The expansion project is proceeding on schedule, according to Saffery, and although a date for the grand opening has not yet been set, he said that it would be before the end of October.



editor@cloverdalereporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Murdered hockey coach honoured by Cloverdale association in three ways

Paul Bennett, a nurse who worked in White Rock, was shot to death in driveway of his home last June

‘Rock show’ held in Surrey

Surrey Rockhound Club hosted a two-day show and sale of ‘Stones of the Fraser Valley’

Three Delta organizations win Fraser Health award for seniors planning workshop

Deltassist, Ladner United Church and Delta Seniors Planning Committee were honoured for the project

Surrey-White Rock CFUW celebrating 60 years

Group to hold a speaker series on homeless youth

VIDEO: Hundreds storm Shannon Hall for Cloverfest

Craft beer festival, Cloverfest, returned to provide local drinks, food and live music

Secret supper clubs test appetite for cannabis-infused food ahead of legalization

Chefs are eagerly awaiting pot edibles to become legal in Canada

Joint inspection planned for missing journalist at Saudi Consulate

Turkish officials have said they fear a Saudi hit team killed and dismembered Washington Potst reporter Jamal Khashoggi

Sears files for bankruptcy amid plunging sales, massive debt

The company started as a mail order catalogue in the 1880s

BREAKING: Prince Harry and Meghan expecting their 1st child in spring

The announcement of the pregnancy confirms weeks of speculation from royal watchers

Giants hand Victoria their first lost of the season

Langley’s WHL team went head to head with the Royals for the second day in a row, beating them 3-2.

Students unhappy with SFU’s response after violent incident in class

Professor, students say a man threw chairs and hit a female student

Enbridge to begin building road to access pipeline explosion site in B.C.

An explosion Tuesday knocked out a 91-centimetre line

Man struck by car in Burnaby: reports

Pedestrian was taken to hospital

Andrew Scheer on revamped NAFTA deal: ‘I would have signed a better one’

Conservative leader says he wouldn’t have signed USMCA

Most Read