A place to call home as municipal museum approved for Dartmouth waterfront

Ruth Davenport, Metro Halifax
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DARTMOUTH - Halifax regional councillors have agreed that a municipal museum should return to Dartmouth, and help establish a “cultural cluster” of destinations on the waterfront.

The former Dartmouth City Hall building on Alderney Landing.

A staff report tabled Tuesday stated that the former Dartmouth City Hall building at 90 Alderney Drive is unsuitable for a museum, based on a structural assessment, and recommended referring it for a review.

Coun. Gloria McCluskey secured enough support to amend the motion to have the building declared surplus, and have proceeds from its sale used to construct a museum for thousands of HRM artifacts currently languishing in a Burnside warehouse.

“The people who have been in charge of these artifacts … will be very happy they will have a home,” she said. “What a great tourist attraction that will be.”

There was some disagreement about limiting the location of a future museum to Dartmouth only, but supporters pointed out that a museum was promised to the Dartmouth Heritage Museum Society after a lengthy debate in 2009.

Coun. Tim Outhit also suggested using one of HRM’s existing buildings, rather than constructing something new, but McCluskey pointed out that museums require specific structural features not commonly found in commercial buildings.

Councillors also supported the idea of using HRM’s existing property near Alderney Gate for the museum, which would create a “cultural cluster” incorporating the Alderney Theater, the plaza and the Craig Gallery.

“Certainly I feel like…having that weight of that many cultural organizations in one palce does create opportunities and that’s why that cultural cluster is important,” said Coun. Waye Mason.

Organizations: Dartmouth City Hall, Dartmouth Heritage Museum Society, Alderney Theater

Geographic location: Dartmouth, Alderney Gate

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