Sidney Museum is about to get bigger

Sidney Museum secures new space in Old Post Office as it embarks on a plan to raise $400,000

Sidney Museum executive director Peter Garnham holds a water jug and wash basin in the museum's sotre room. An expansion means they can display more artifacts.

Sidney Museum executive director Peter Garnham holds a water jug and wash basin in the museum's sotre room. An expansion means they can display more artifacts.

On Sunday, they’ll make it official during the town’s diamond anniversary event at Beacon Park, but the Sidney Museum wants to expand and they’re going to raise $400,000 to make it happen.

This week, the museum announced it has already entered into an agreement to buy additional space in the Old Post Office building on Beacon Avenue.

Museum board member Peter Wainwright says they will take possession of the Military Bookstore on Jan. 1, 2013. The book store itself will be changing location as well.

“We have been talking about expansion for a while,” said Wainwright, who is the chairperson of the museum’s fundraising committee. “The catalyst was Clive Tanner’s decision to move the book store.”

The museum already leases space there, Wainwright continued, so they decided they needed to secure the location, “instead of possibly being forced to downsize if we lost it to new owners.”

Getting the entire space means the museum can increase its display area by 20 per cent, enabling them to bring out more of their artifacts in storage.

Wainwright said they have some 6,000 artifacts — on display and in storage — and their expansion will also lead to the acquisition of new ones that will better tell the story of Sidney by the Sea.

The Sidney Museum is in good shape, financially, Wainwright added, noting their Lego display has been a popular draw.

Peter Garnham, the museum’s executive director said that display has seen between 7,500 and 11,000 people visit since they’ve had it up. What this means, said Wainwright, is the museum could hold a mortgage on the new space if they had to — but fundraising now will help pay the bill for the expansion and various upgrades to lighting, flow and use of technology.

Already, the museum society board says they are 17 per cent of the way to their goal. They are still working on their overall budget, said Wainwright, but donations have already come in and they have applied for a $100,000 grant from the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund. Individuals can donate or make pledges at the museum or by visiting

Wainwright added the society will also be offering exhibit sponsorship opportunities and what they are calling their Wall of Honour.

“It’s a showcase of business, individual and organizations that have significantly contributed to the growth and history of Sidney.”

More fundraising efforts will be announced soon, Wainwright added.

Sunday’s official announcement will take place at 2:15 p.m. in the park, with museum board members, owners of the old Post Office and others.

Military bookshop to move, says Tanner

Clive Tanner, owner of the Military Book Shop (among others), said the museum is expanding and that’s good news for the community.

“What this does,” he said, “is get me out of a basement.”

He confirmed that the Military Book Shop will be moving before the Sidney Museum takes over the space on Jan. 1, 2013 — adding he doesn’t know exactly where to at the moment.

“We will be moving,” he said, “I’m just not sure of the location.”

Tanner promised to keep us informed.