News / Winnipeg

Dalnavert museum draws big crowds for reopening

A time machine to 1895 has reopened on Carlton Street.

Dalnavert Museum drew more than 1,700 visitors last weekend as part of the Open Doors Winnipeg event. It was the first time the museum was open to the public since it was shut down by the Manitoba Historical Society in 2013.

At the time, the MHS said Dalnavert was losing money, and suggested the heritage building — once the home of former Manitoba Premier Hugh John MacDonald, the son of Sir John A. MacDonald — might be converted to office space.

But a new group of volunteers and heritage advocates, the Friends of Dalnavert Museum, stepped up to take over operation of the museum.

Spokesperson Vanessa Warne said the group has an aggressive plan to raise funds for the museum, including more venue rentals and partnering with like-minded organizations. On Monday, they were at city hall to secure nearly $41,000 in funding to help with re-opening costs.

“It smells like, sounds like, and looks like it’s straight out of 1895,” Warne said about the building. “Walking through Dalnavert can teach us about the history of servants, immigration, politics and architecture. There was a lot of stuff happening in this house.”

She said the Friends want to use the house to explore big moments in history, like how the sinking of the Titanic affected people who lived in Winnipeg.

“There’s no other museum in the city that’s really focused on that,” Warne said.

Dalnavert Museum is open Wednesday to Friday from noon to 4 pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 4 pm.

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