Early this week, BMO announced’s their intent to offer Themuseum a game-changing donation of $1 million.
The donation comes in two parts, the first being the monetary fund to revitalize and transform THEMUSEUM. The second comes in the form of the sale of the BMO building found right next to THEMUSEUM’s location in downtown Kitchener.
“We first offered the sale of our building to THEMUSEUMas a first right of refusal purchase at a very reasonable cost, so I would say not at market level. They agreed to do that which is great,” said Julie Barker-Merz, BMO’s senior vice-president for southwestern Ontario and member of THEMUSEUM’s board, said.
The BMO location, which will ultimately allow THEMUSEUMto expand, is set to relocate to another smaller location in downtown Kitchener. For Themuseum, the funds provide an opportunity to revamp the arts and culture community in the Waterloo Region, allowing it to bring a larger vision into fruition.
“The museum is doing great — what this donation is intended to do is to be the beginning of a capital campaign,” Barker-Merz said.
“To do the type of renovation and expansion to both the community and to the BMO building next door is going to require a lot of funds. It’s a multi-million dollar range, we’re still not sure how much it’s going to cost so we’re going to be kick-starting a co-creation campaign.”
The co-creation campaign will involve asking the arts and culture community for input on how to expand Themuseum, how much the expansion will cost and, finally, how to raise the appropriate funds.
“This is a way to get corporate Canada at the table and say BMO believes that this is part of a an important transformation for arts and culture in downtown Kitchener,” Barker-Merz said. “We’re challenging other businesses to do the same — jump in and be a part of the capital campaign and help support the development.”
Baker-Merz noted that the expansion echoes the development of the vibrant arts and culture community that already exists in the Waterloo Region.
“The community has grown faster than arts and culture has been able to keep up. This is a great opportunity to expand and build and connect it to all the things that make KW thrive,” she said.
Overall, Barker-Merz said she was excited to be a part of a project that will hopefully ensure the arts and culture community in KW thrive and expand.
“As we celebrate our fifteenth anniversary, I am thrilled with the opportunity to build on our original motto of Art, Science & Technology at Play …” said David Marskell, CEO of Themuseum in a press release. “We will continue with what we have become known for — from pop culture and branded large exhibitions to family experiences, STEAM programming and Museum After Dark events for young, culture-craving urbanites.”
“We are, as always, open to collaborating with other groups to create something truly unique that celebrates the DNA of this community. Exciting times are ahead and I urge the community to stay tuned!”