Author Details “100 Years of Trial” attempts to create Manitoba Museum in New Book – Winnipeg


In 2020, the Manitoba Museum recognizes 50 years of sharing and exhibiting the history of the province – but the author of a new book says it took a full century from the founding of Manitoba in 1870 before the museum finally came into being.Jim Burns, author of Fire, madness and fiasco: why it took 100 years to build the Manitoba Museum, told 680 CJOB that the decades of effort to find a home for the province’s artifacts was “a tragic story of frustration and failure.”

“I guess you could say there was a shortage of money,” Burns said.

“Manitoba was not a wealthy province in the early years, but that shouldn’t be taken as a disinterest. Manitobans really wanted a museum from the start, but a business like this really requires government to step in with support.

“It was a recurring problem for 100 years, really. There just hasn’t been financial support for a very long time.

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Burns’ new book.

Éditions Woolly Mammoth

Burns said the museum was just one of the proposed projects plagued by delays – especially in Winnipeg’s heyday as “Chicago of the North.”

“There were certainly big plans to build a number of monumental architecture buildings on the boulevard just north of our current legislative building,” he said.

“But then again, there just didn’t seem to be the core of cash available and a real commitment to such efforts, so the buildings just weren’t erected. We can count among these an art gallery, an archive, a large library and things like that.

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Burns, curator emeritus of the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton and a member of the Manitoba Historical Society, said his research for the book showed that many Manitoba treasures had been taken elsewhere over the 100 years without an official place to store them.

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“With all of this fumbling around and not having a dedicated museum building – a self-contained, fireproof facility to store Manitoba’s heritage – there just didn’t seem to be the will to deposit historical things, artefacts and documents.” very important.

“So many collections have found their way to other places – south of the border and into Europe – and so, in fact, Manitoba has lost much of its heritage due to inactivity and unwillingness. .

Burns has nothing but praise for the current Manitoba Museum on Main Street and the Archives of Manitoba building, and said he was happy that, at last, the region’s precious history has found a permanent home, from July 1970.

“We certainly have a wonderful heritage here in Manitoba, and it’s worth going to these establishments to take a look and see what you find,” he said.

The book, from Woolly Mammoth Publishing of Manitoba, will be officially released on October 6 with an online event presented by McNally Robinson Bookstore.

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150 years of Winnipeg history captured in Manitoba Museum exhibit

150 years of Winnipeg’s history captured in Manitoba Museum exhibit

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