Association Heritage New Brunswick Annual Report 2020-2021
The Association Heritage New Brunswick’s activities continue to be guided by the Strategic Plan which established its mission to Promote the conservation, preservation, interpretation, and appreciation of New Brunswick’s heritage resources.
In this respect, the first goal stated in the strategic plan is to be the voice of heritage. In the past year, the Executive Director participated in several meetings with the Dept. of Canadian Heritage, the CMA, and the Provincial and Territorial Associations (PTMAs).
As a group we:
- We urged that the Dept. of Canadian Heritage continue to support the Museum Sector to open and remain open throughout the different phases of the pandemic and that the unused money from the Emergency Funding is saved for the museum sector.
- We urged the Dept. of Canadian Heritage to work with the CMA and the PTMAs once the framework is completed on the new National Museum Policy.
- We recommended the Dept. of Canadian Heritage expand the Museums Assistance Program to reach beyond collections-based activities and that museums require additional funding for Digital work.
52 Museums in NB received Emergency Funding in 2020 that totaled $925,220. Most museums received between $5 and $10 thousand. The Reopening Fund for Heritage Organizations was introduced in late August 2021 to help enable the reopening of the heritage sector and to ensure that heritage institutions were able to contribute to the resilience of their communities as we recover from the pandemic.
As a group, the CMA & PTMAs, also sent letters to the leaders of all the federal political parties during the Federal Election, highlighting the importance of museums and seeking each parties’ positions on critical questions for the sector in a short survey. Party Leaders were also asked to commit to updating Canada’s 30-year-old national museum policy.
The Executive Director continues to work with the PTMAs on The Museums Me Consortium.
Year two of this three-year project to reinforce the importance of museums in the minds of governments, stakeholders, and the general public revealed interesting statistics from across the county which are now being analyzed. Of interest to note, museums surpass daily newspapers and television when it comes to people perceiving it as a credible source of information. Canadians are watching museums for leadership on key issues. However, it is interesting to note that 80% of panel participants aged 65+ think museums should be neutral in their presentation of materials, but only 65% of those aged 18-25 agree. 57% of youth think museums should be more progressive. Museums are seen as a truth-teller, an educator, and an ally, but to preserve this role, we heard that the museum must reimagine its relationship to the truth, and as a “trusted advisor” to the public(s) it serves.
The AHNB had a virtual meeting with the Minister, Tammy Scott-Wallace (THC), Brent Suttie (THC), Andrew Russell, (THC), Thierry Arseneau (THC), and Deputy Minister, Yennah Hurley (THC).
Objective: To inform the minister, find ways to meet the needs of museums, and built heritage preservation.
Ongoing Issues and Moving Forward
- Sustainability for museums and built heritage.
- Longer Student weeks
- The reinstatement of the Seniors program (SEED)
- Review of Grant Programs
- Increase knowledge of heritage buildings in relation to the environment, investment, and tourism.
- NB Culture Policy has not been reviewed/updated since 2014
- Tourism – Need professional help to properly photograph, and or create videos
- Strategic Partnerships
- Staffing of Heritage Branch – continued cuts are a real concern
- We would like to work closely with the Province and Heritage Branch to help the sector
Feedback from the Meeting
- The department is in talks with tourism officials in relation to the lack of advertising that includes NB museums and our built heritage.
- The department is in talks with DTI about the importance of our covered bridges as it relates to tourism and our built heritage. It was also mentioned that we should be included in these discussions.
- The Department is receptive to working with AHNB to gain efficiencies as their staff changes.
- The Department is aware that the senior’s program is missed and is considering how SEED might include seniors working in the shoulder season.
- Heritage Branch wants to work with educators at NBCC, the AHNB, and heritage experts on trying to develop a curriculum for contractors, and a type of certification program to encourage them to understand and recognize what treatment is required when working on a heritage building, and that the elements of the building are significant and that appropriate intervention is important.
- Heritage Branch wants to make a quick reference guide to encourage attention to conservation standards and consistency because they want to ensure that the work is being done to a specific standard.
Kellie attended a Pre-Budget Consultation with the Hon. Ernie Steeves. Some of the issues we addressed were as follows: 1) There are no courses available to train skilled workers in heritage buildings in NB; 2) The lack of internet access in rural areas in the province needs to be addressed; 3) Volunteers in the heritage sector outnumber paid workers 2 to 1 in NB. The Senior grant program needs to be reinstated; 4) Provincial advertising for community museums does not exist, and 5) The benefits to the community and the tax base when heritage buildings are preserved and/or repurposed.
A letter was sent to Mayor O’Brien about its proposal for the Centennial Building on King Street in Fredericton. We urged that the City act to ensure the preservation of the modern ‘International Style’ architecture of the building’s exterior as well as that the original artworks be protected and preserved and remain accessible to the public. We recommended that as the City reviews its Heritage Preservation by-law and design guidelines, it aims to achieve a more stable and meaningful piece of legislation that will enhance the city as it changes and grows.
Several letters were sent to Premier Higgs, (copied to the Minister DTI, the Minister of THC, and the Deputy Minister of Tourism) urging him to commit to saving the remaining covered bridges throughout the province. In particular, these letters addressed the plight of the Vaughan Creek Covered Bridge in St. Martins, and the Florenceville Covered Bridge in Florenceville-Bristol. The AHNB also partnered with the Covered Bridges Associations in New Brunswick and the U.S.A. to bring attention to the importance of preserving these heritage icons in all forms of media.
Our Executive Director has attended several Zone meetings in an effort to better understand the needs of the NB Museum sector and to update members on specific topics. During the Spring Zone Coordinators meeting it was evident that a Provincial Ad Campaign might help increase attendance at museums over the 2021 season. Kellie contacted Vannessa Vander Valk, the host of CBC’s Shift NB, about a weekly program highlighting what community museums have to offer throughout the nine Museum Zones. Next year we plan to expand the NB Museum Summer Ad Campaign through Stingray Advertising that will include Social Media pop-up ads, print and radio campaigns highlighting NB Community Museums.
The second goal set out in the strategic plan is to facilitate heritage education opportunities. Our 2020 Virtual Annual Conference proved to be very successful in that we were able to have our annual AGM and Awards Ceremony, as well as a few informative sessions that 69 member institutions benefitted from.
We also held a two-day CCI workshop and four informative webinars that were free to all participants.
Module 1 – Response Ready? Developing an Emergency Response Team for Heritage Institutions.
Module 3 – Response Ready? Developing All-Hazards Emergency Response Procedures for Heritage Institutions.
Four webinars in both official languages: Hazards in Your Collection, Using Your Museum Collection to Build Specific Programming to Coincide with NB Social Studies, RE-ORG: Reorganization of Collection 101 (ICCROM, UNESCO, CCI) Fundamentals, and Emergency Preparedness.
These webinars are possible due to the financial support from the Department of Canadian Heritage’s MAP program. These webinars have been added to our previous list of 14 educational webinars found on our website.
The AHNB is working with the province to implement a Museum Evaluation Program that will help NB Museums to meet and/or maintain a specific museum standard. The province has hired a consultant group called Great Earth Consulting, who will consult NB Museum on what their needs are, study what other provinces are doing, and research AHNBs previous training model to learn what might work best moving forward in the province.
Phase one – Basic training such as Board Governance, Facility Management, Collections, Conservation, Policy Development, Exhibit Design, Repatriation and Reconciliation, and Community Involvement.
Phase two – Strategic Planning, Fundraising, Grant Writing, Working with Volunteers, and Marketing.
Our heritage education efforts continued this year during our 4th annual Love Your Covered Bridges Days campaign. This action supports our third goal of facilitating and supporting heritage awareness, appreciation, and conservation.
The 4rd annual Love Your Covered Bridges campaign proved to be very successful, as it attracted a number of communities who wanted to participate in our campaign and showcase their individual covered bridge. One such event, hosted by the Albert County Historical Society in appreciation for the restoration work done on the 113-year-old Sawmill Creek Bridge in Hopewell Hill was very well attended. Community and government officials and several members of our Board joined the community for a memorable afternoon.
Kellie and several Board members attended presentations by Dan Tingley entitled Advanced Timber Bridge Inspection, Maintenance, Restoration, and Design which focused on covered bridge timber construction. Dan Tingley is the Senior Engineer at Wood Research and Development.
Other initiatives of the AHNB:
TOP TEN ENDANGERED PLACES LIST – The objective is to create a nomination-based program that allows private citizens and organizations to bring attention to at-risk historic sites in their area with the goal of increasing the chances of conserving these sites for future generations. The project framework has been completed. The set of criteria and the nomination forms are in the development stages.
DIRECTORY OF EXPERTISE AND MATERIALS – Continue to build a directory of professionals and tradespeople who have expertise and experience working on heritage buildings.
INVENTORY – AHNB hired an Intern for 28 weeks to work on the Built Heritage Inventory Project through the National Trust for Canada’s Young Canada Works at Building Careers in Heritage Program (Career Focus). The Intern will develop an inventory of heritage buildings in New Brunswick with the help of the Built Heritage Committee and outside volunteers from communities where the buildings are being inventoried.
1) Province of New Brunswick, Department Tourism, Culture and Heritage – Annual Operations Grant for 2021 – $90,000
2) Dept. of Canadian Heritage (MAP) – Funding for our 2021/2022 webinars in the amount of 5,140.00 was approved and four webinars will be conducted in French and English starting next month.
- Registration of Museum Collections with Anja Hamilton (November 2021).
- Membership Development / Public Programming with Dr. Dominique Gélinas (January 2022).
- Preventative Conservation for Museum Collections with Dee Stubbs-Lee (February 2022).
- Public Engagement for Today’s Museum with Janet Clouston (March 2022).
4) Student Intern through the Office of Experiential Education at UNB – Communications Assistant $9,977.14
5) Intern through Young Canada Works Building Careers in Heritage program with National Trust for Canada– $14,000. Funding was made possible through the Department of Canadian Heritage.
TIANB Board Meetings
Kellie shared her lack of enthusiasm for the provinces’ planned advertising campaign as they move forward. The campaign is not inclusive of every sector in Tourism. Heritage and Culture is usually not represented. The same products are advertised every year, and ignore NB’s community museums and rural communities. The Board of TIANB was in full support for a more inclusive campaign.
- NB now has 37 museums that have taken the training. There is a new support forum for Canadian users to share new things that they are doing and to help each other out.
AHNB’s final goal is sustaining our organization. As well as the projects and initiatives identified in this report, the ongoing work of our Association continues through grant applications, reports, communication, and assistance to our members.
Partnerships with other heritage organizations across the county continue, as our Executive Director attends regular ZOOM meetings with the National Trust for Canada on several topics such as Federal legislation and Federal designation, Heritage buildings and Insurance issues, Historic Places Days ongoing advocacy efforts, and so on. Kellie also attended their 2021 Virtual Conference. Membership is critical to sustaining AHNB. We currently have 59 paid memberships but expect that number to increase since most of our members pay their membership fees in October.
The AHNB is sustained by the work and contributions of many people. We would like to thank everyone who serves on the Board of AHNB and our volunteers who help to keep us moving forward. A special thank you to the 2021 Conference Committee, Jeanne-Mance Cormier, Lawren Campbell, Dominique Gélinas, and Kellie Blue who so graciously agreed to continue working on our 2022 Conference in Dieppe. Three times is the charm! We would like to take this opportunity to thank Marion Beyea for her dedication and hard work over the past eight years as an AHNB Board member, then as AHNB President, and followed by time served as AHNB’s Past President. Thankfully Marion will continue to volunteer as a committee co-chair of the AHNB Built Heritage Committee and as a Board Member with the Fredericton Heritage Trust. Also leaving the Board are Jim Bezanson and Sherry Little who have served as members since 2015. Jim providing expert input and advice on many matters relating to built heritage, and Sherry taking leadership on AHNB’s efforts to preserve our covered bridges.
Gaëtane Saucier-Nadaeu, President
Kellie Blue-McQuade, Executive Director