NEW MUSEUM PROJECT:
A New Chapter
Final Phase of Make History
In 2006, Fort Calgary and its Board of Directors spearheaded an ambitious three-phase masterplan called “Make History” to revitalize and redevelop this site. The masterplan considered the redevelopment of the land upon which Fort Calgary is situated as well as the broader revitalization of this community led by the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) and the Rivers District Plan.
Phases I and II are complete and work on Phase III, the “New Museum Project”, made considerable progress this year.
Phase I—Completed in 2018
This phase included the Deane House rehabilitation, Hunt House restoration, Métis Cabin restoration and upgrades to the surrounding park and gardens.
Phase II—Completed in 2017
This phase included the installation of Markings, the 1875 Fort Interpretive Exhibit. Designed by artist Jill Anholt, this exhibit reimagines the symbolic beginnings of the city.
Phase III—Currently in Development
New Museum Project: construction of a new 12,750 s.f. museum and partial renovation to the 1888 Barracks. Brand new exhibits, functional learning space and history-rich school programs.
A Broader Story
Fort Calgary has been the site of a beautiful and centuries-old relationship between the land and its Indigenous peoples.
When the North West Mounted Police arrived in 1875, it became a site that birthed a small but flourishing community. Today, this land sits at the core of a thriving city.
Because many of the events of our history took place on this very site, we believe we have a responsibility to build a space that envelopes this history with courage, authenticity and respect.
With sentiment shifting in the community shifting with greater awareness and call to action as a result of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), we made the timely decision to expand the “narrative” of Fort Calgary to include previously untold Indigenous stories.
To do this work in a respectful and engaging way, Fort Calgary invited members of Treaty 7 and the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3, to join an Advisory Committee to help guide decisions related to the New Museum Project, including
Randy Bottle—Kainai Nation
Tobias Provost—Piikani Nation
Kent Ayoungman—Siksika Nation
Hal Eagletail—Tsuut’ina Nation
Fred Powderface—Nakoda Nations
Darcy McRae—Métis Nation
A New Scope
At the same time, we were evaluating the funds available for the project. An infrastructure assessment conducted by the City of Calgary showed that the business case to renovate an aging building did not make sense.
In September 2018, the Board of Directors approved a new scope to demolish and build a new museum.
The New Museum Project will build a new, 12,750 square-foot museum that will engage visitors in this national, provincial and municipal historic site combined with the origins of this site as an Indigenous gathering place. The broadened narrative of the site will be developed in deep collaboration with the RCMP Veterans’ Association, Treaty 7 Nations and the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.
The New Museum will also be a platform for visitors to engage more deeply with our story through programs and events. The New Museum will have a Gallery of Nations, Fort Calgary Gallery, Evolving Story Gallery, Learning Centre with two classrooms, outdoor courtyard, café and retail. The design allows for future addition or expansion and will link to the Barracks/Business Centre, which itself will see a light renovation creating new administration offices and meeting spaces for external groups.
Committing to Curatorial Autonomy
While Fort Calgary will provide the “platform” for the New Museum Project, our RCMP and Indigenous Advisors will have the autonomy to determine what stories will be shared, in their voice. By creating this content in a collaborative process, we are able to tell a more complete story of this site as a cultural and historic gathering place.
To learn more about our project team, funders and how you can get involved, subscribe to our New Museum Project Bulletin for the most up-to-date information.