Have you heard the exciting news? We’re set to expand and will be doubling in size!
On Monday, May 28, David Marskell, CEO of THEMUSEUM, welcomed community members, arts and culture supporters, politicians and members of the media to our expansive atrium for an important announcement.
BMO Bank of Montreal announced a sole purchaser agreement with THEMUSEUM, allowing us to purchase 2 King Street West, Kitchener. This acquisition enables us to expand in size and scope, while BMO sets the stage for a critical mass of arts and culture in downtown Kitchener. To further assist, BMO has pledged a $1M donation to help transform the core’s cultural connection to the community and to be a catalyst for renewal of arts and culture in the heart of the city. The acquisition comes at a crucial time, helping secure long-sought sustainability for THEMUSEUM, an issue long identified by the Board of Directors.
THEMUSEUM has come to play a vital role in the rejuvenation of downtown Kitchener, with its 100,000+ annual visitors. With the LRT expected to connect our communities like never before, an expanded museum will create a virtually endless stream of future collaborations. It will add to the quality of life for our residents while also assisting in attracting and retaining talented individuals and their families.
THEMUSEUM will now enter a period of consultation which includes connecting with funders and interested groups. Seeking input from local stakeholders will ensure that what is created will effectively support the needs of the community in an accessible and impactful way. We are, as always, open to collaborating with other groups to create something truly unique that celebrates the DNA of this community.
The purchase of 2 King Street West is expected to close later this year. We will continue to keep the community updated on our website and via social media. The full media release, including quotes, can be found here.
A Message from our CEO, David Marskell
This September marks the 15th anniversary of the opening of The Waterloo Region Children’s Museum. Our motto was “Art, Science & Technology at Play.”
It was an amazing vision when this community came together and raised $17M to reclaim Goudies department store. The funding model and our sustainability has always been an issue and something our Board of Directors has focused on for the past eight years. This current group of visionaries see the bigger, better, BOLDER picture – and look to an exciting future.
This announcement – the property acquisition and subsequent donation – is the first step on the path to sustainability. With this additional space and support, we will be able to flourish and thrive like never before.
We’ve created one-of-a-kind experiences in the past, including Treasures of China Featuring the Dazu Rock Carvings, ADD COLOUR| A Yoko Ono Exhibition, Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, Andy Warhol’s Factory, and QUANTUM: The Exhibition. Today’s announcement will allow us to work with the community as those visionaries did more than 15 years ago to allow us to awe, inspire and enlighten this community like never before.
Exciting times are ahead – and I urge the community to stay tuned! Those interested in supporting or speaking about the expansion are urged to contact me via email: David.Marskell@THEMUSEUM.ca
Expansion Fast Facts
What is the cost of 2 King Street, West?
The cost of the building is $3M. We have been in discussion with many community leaders, funders and foundations and we are more than optimistic that we will reach that goal. BMO’s donation of $1M puts us in an excellent place.
When does the real estate transaction close?
We are expecting this to close later this year.
Why has THEMUSEUM made the decision to expand?
Capacity was recognized as a roadblock to sustainability eight years ago. Since then, our attendance has grown to 100,000 annually. The downtown is growing quickly and we must expand to survive and to be able to best service the community.
How large is BMO and THEMUSEUM?
THEMUSEUM is roughly 38,000sq ft. BMO’s footprint is roughly 8,500sq ft.
How is this expansion going to ensure sustainability?
Our board identified capacity and sustainability issues eight years ago and this decision not only aligns with our plans, but allows us to flourish and evolve. It also means that we can double in space without doubling our expenses. We will be able to hold multiple events on the same day, such as conferences, weddings and ticketed events without having to close. We will have more space to carry out additional programming and family activities and have the freedom to explore other avenues and opportunities.
Do you believe in our vision for a better, bigger, bolder critical mass of arts and culture in downtown Kitchener? Our CEO, David Marskell, would love to speak with you personally. Please get in touch here.
Thank you to our generous supporters:
THEMUSEUM has been an anchor of downtown Kitchener for 15 years! We’re proud of the lives we’ve been able to impact and the generous support we’ve received.
Loretta Notten, Director of Education, WCDSB“Our students are engaged by the relevant and interactive displays which invite them to be active participants in their learning. We are particularly appreciative of the spirit of partnership which exists between us and THEMUSEUM – in service of our stakeholders and students in particular. WCDSB feels fortunate to have the gift of THEMUSEUM in our community to enrich and enliven the learning experience.”
Iain Klugman, President & CEO, Communitech“Not only do talented individuals want a great place to live and great things to do; they are attracted to things that are mentally stimulating – a place which offers more than work, family and recreation. That’s where arts and culture comes in – it’s that form of difference and diversity that is necessary for building strong economies and communities in 2018.”
John Bryant, Director of Education, WRDSB"THEMUSEUM is a creative learning environment that allows our students to explore new and innovative projects and ideas. Our students have been welcomed as visitors to many exhibitions over the years, and have also had the opportunity to be featured in exhibitions like the upcoming Refugee Art Exhibit. We are very proud to have THEMUSEUM as a cultural institution and learning hub in our community.”
Derek Weidl, Member, THEMUSEUM“THEMUSEUM is a place where anything can happen... and often does. You never know what’s going to come next. And it’s intoxicating!”
Deborah L. MacLatchy, PhD, President & Vice-Chancellor, Wilfred Laurier University“Great communities have flourishing arts and culture scenes. Today’s announcement further enriches THEMUSEUM as a leader in Kitchener-Waterloo’s aspirations. Congratulations!”
Carol Leaman, CEO, AxonifyTHEMUSEUM has become a critical piece of the arts and culture fabric of KW. To see it grow and evolve this way is incredible for our community.”
Carl Zehr, Former Mayor, City of Kitchener“THEMUSEUM has been instrumental in initiating community conversations by presenting exhibits that are topical and sometimes challenging.”
Jen Gough, Local Artist“Over the years I’ve worked with THEMUSEUM on many occasions and I’ve always been impressed with their desire and dedication to building a strong community of arts and culture. Their support of local artists has provided many creatives with opportunities to show their work and help them build sustainable careers. I should know, I’m one of them!”
Lynn Short, Vice President, Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation“Arts and Culture have the power to inspire, educate and connect. Extending the creative opportunities to participate in activities will contribute to the overall well-being of our community. Cultural institutions provide a more beautiful, vibrant and exciting place to engage with others.”
Laird A. Robertson, President & Creative Director NEO Architecture Inc.“THEMUSEUM never fails to awe, inspire, and enlighten!”
Terre Chartrand, Local Artist“A few years ago, David Marskell challenged me: If he gave me a floor of THEMUSEUM, what would I do with it? With his support, we presented a locally-focused show of new, emerging, and established artists. THEMUSEUM has been a lightning rod for growing culture in Kitchener, but has also served as a golden standard for artistic support for many artists in Waterloo Region and beyond.”
Tim Jackson, President and CEO, Shad Network"I am thrilled to see THEMUSEUM outline its plans for the future. Over the past 15 years THEMUSEUM has grown from an idea and concept to a leading organization in our community. I am sure the visionaries who originally conceived of the concept are thrilled with where THEMUSEUM has come and where it is going.”
Rob Schlegel, Vice President & CFO, RBJ Schlegel Holdings Inc“Led by the company’s most tireless advocate, David Marskell, the team is now taking a bold first step toward sustainability and growth. We must all invest in the future of arts and culture within the Region so they may continue to attract world-class exhibitions, talent and visitors. THEMUSEUM is in the very DNA of this community and embodies all that makes us proud: An entrepreneurial spirit, tenacity; a passion for the unique, inspirational and thought-provoking.”
Peter Sweeney, CEO, YMCAs of Cambridge & Kitchener-Waterloo“THEMUSEUM in particular, and the arts community in general, play a strong role in fostering connections that matter; to each other and to the art that defines us. We are proud to have partnered with THEMUSEUM in the past and look forward to continuing our friendship Peter Sweeney, in the future.”
Minto Schneider, CEO, Waterloo Regional Tourism Marketing Corporation“A hearty congratulations to THEMUSEUM on your 15th anniversary! This phenomenal space galvanizes DTK, offering a venue for education, entertainment, art and culture throughout the year. We are proud to have THEMUSEUM as partners and look forward to working with them to ensure that all continue to enjoy what is offered throughout the year.”
Feridun Hamdullahpur, President & Vice-chancellor, University of Waterloo"Waterloo Region attracts the best and brightest from around the world to learn, live and work here, but the global competition for talent is increasing exponentially. We have a diverse economy with global enterprises that attract global talent. Vibrant arts and culture facilities and events are a fundamental part of the equation for continuing to attract and retain that talent for years to come."
John Baker, President & CEO, D2L“It’s vital that we embrace the arts and culture sector – exploring ways to integrate imagination and creativity into our work and lives. Proud to see THEMUSEUM inspiring learners of all ages to discover STEAM programs.”
What are you going to build?
We will build on what we are known for and excel at: Pop Culture, large branded exhibitions, family experiences and STEAM programming. We will also enter into a period of consultation with funders, artists, the universities and others in the arts and culture sector to form collaborations. We’re open to any and all ideas and are taking feedback from the community. The possibilities truly are endless – we’re looking forward to seeing what emerges from the consultation process.
What will it cost to build the new space?
As we don’t know exactly what will be built, we don’t know what the cost will be at this point. We are entering a period of consultation with stakeholders, funders and arts and cultural groups to ensure what we build is in response to the needs of this community.
How long will the consultation period be?
It depends on how long it takes to connect with everyone and gather feedback. We will continue to keep the public informed via the media, social media and on our website.
Are you collecting donations?
If our community members would like to donate towards the expansion and believe in our vision our CEO, David Marskell, is available to discuss ways in which they can support.
Follow us for updates!