May 4 2017
The Manitoba Museum Moves Closer to Reaching Fundraising Goal
Winnipeg (May 4, 2017): The Manitoba Museum continues its drive to raise $19 million towards the Bringing Our Stories Forward Capital and Endowment Campaign, with the announcement of another lead gift of $250,000 from James Cohen and Linda McGarva Cohen. The campaign will fund the Museum’s renewal of 42% of its Galleries by 2020, in time for a landmark year that will celebrate the Province of Manitoba’s 150th anniversary, the Museum’s 50th, and Hudson Bay Company’s (HBC) 350th.
Over the last 50 years, the Manitoba Museum has told the story of Manitoba’s natural and human history. During this period, we’ve learned more about Manitoba’s Indigenous Peoples, waves of immigrants that have changed the cultural landscape, and our understanding of our coexistence with nature. To reflect these changes, the Museum will renew four of nine galleries including the Orientation, Grasslands, Urban, and Nonsuch Galleries, and create a new gallery, the Winnipeg Gallery.
James Cohen and Linda McGarva Cohen are known for their generous support of many Winnipeg organizations, but also have a personal reason for choosing to support the Bringing Our Stories Forward project. Their gift to this project is – partially inspired by Irena Cohen, James’ mother, whose journey to Winnipeg included travelling by foot from what is now the Czech Republic to an American base in Germany, then to Winnipeg, which was promoted at the time as the ‘Paris of the Prairies.’
“Giving back is something I have always believed in and I am very fortunate to be in a position to do so. Having been on the board of the Manitoba Museum for the past five years, I have witnessed firsthand the close connection this important institution has with the community at large while representing our province on so many levels. It is time for us to invest in the Manitoba Museum to better reflect the changes that have impacted our province since it first opened in 1970-almost 50 years ago,” said James Cohen. “Large waves of immigration from nations not always represented in the Museum’s permanent galleries have occurred in that time and there is a real need to reflect those changes in our gallery renewal. My own mother is an immigrant from what is now the Czech Republic and she along with people from a variety of other countries have helped weave the fabric of our society over the past half century. The Manitoba Museum is an irreplaceable icon in our community and part of the reason Linda and I have chosen to support it along with other entities over the years including the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Winnipeg Harvest and other organizations, is because they play such an important role in making life better for all of us who choose to live here.”
“The Cohen family story is just one of thousands and the Bringing Our Stories Forward campaign will enable us to continue to tell the diverse stories of the people that have chosen to make Manitoba their new home together with stories of our Indigenous people, so all Manitobans are represented,” said Claudette Leclerc, Executive Director and CEO of the Manitoba Museum. “We are grateful for the generosity and support from James and Linda Cohen.”
Bringing Our Stories Forward is the second step in a three- step vision. The first step was the expansion of Alloway Hall, a $5.3 million project which nearly doubled the size of the space – completed on time and on budget. The expanded space will enable the Museum to host larger world-class exhibitions, beginning with the never-before-seen exhibit World’s Giant Dinosaurs, opening May 19, 2017. The third and final phase of the overall Vision is still in the conceptual stage, and will see the construction of a stand-alone science centre, creation of a Community Commons at the Museum’s Main Street entrance, and new facilities for research, conservation and education.
About the Manitoba Museum
The Manitoba Museum is the province’s award-winning heritage and science centre, unique in its combination of human and natural history themes. The Museum is renowned for its vivid portrayal of Manitoba’s rich and colourful history, Planetarium shows, and Science Gallery exhibits. The Manitoba Museum has now embarked on a $19 million Museum Gallery renewal project, entitled Bringing our Stories Forward, that will include a visionary financial investment from our community. This is the second step to our larger $160 million Capital Renewal Vision, which will transform one of our province’s most vital cultural institutions.