Military Museum sets up in new home

NANAIMO – Vancouver Island Military Museum prepares new home in downtown Nanaimo to show historic military artifacts.

Vancouver Island Military Museum is nestling into a new home in downtown Nanaimo, but it’ll be months before it can be opened to the public.

The museum moved into the Centennial Building in Piper Park this month, but even though the building was once home to the Nanaimo District Museum, months of preparation work must be completed to make the building suitable to show military artifacts.

Brian McFadden, military museum vice-president, said floors are being retiled, walls and ceilings painted and interior lighting will be upgraded before staff start setting up displays in mid-April.

“It will be June or July before we open,” McFadden said. “That’s sort of the target date. We realize it’s a big job.”

Interior design work is being carried out by Nanaimo architect Raymond de Beeld.

“He has a young designer, Desiree Houle, who is doing the colour design for us,” McFadden said. “At the moment she’s studying various military museums and then she’ll present us with some ideas and suggestions as to how we colour-coordinate the different branches of the armed forces so there’s a flow to the timeline.”

While interior work continues, boxes of artifacts and display hardware are being unpacked for staff to decide which items in the inventory will be displayed.

“We probably won’t put out as much as we had before, but it will be much better displayed,” McFadden said.

Compared to the museum’s old home in Nanaimo North Town Centre, the Centennial Building’s open space also makes it more suitable for showcasing historic items and large three-dimensional models.

“That’s one of the things we can see being a big advantage here,” McFadden said. “We can have people come in and travel in a direction which takes you through the navy, army, air force displays and works in a natural flow.”