Nov. 16, 2006
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The Provincial Archives of New Brunswick has undergone renovations to provide more space and improved services to the public.
The front lobby, reading room and microfilm storage room, totalling 105.93 square metres (1,177 square feet), have been given a major facelift, and barrier-free accessibility has been enhanced.
The renovations were designed to provide space and privacy for consulting records and research, improve wheelchair accessibility on the main floor, bring more natural light and ventilation to the lobby and reception area, and offer a proper meeting room for the benefit of the Archives and other organizations such as historical and genealogical societies. During the renovations important elements of the building's original architecture - such as a mosaic in the terrazzo floor, unique birds-eye maple woodwork and wrought iron fiddlehead railings - were preserved.
"These improvements are great news for the many visitors who come to the Provincial Archives," Supply and Services Minister Roly MacIntyre said. "Improved access, more privacy, better security for documents and brighter surroundings will help the Archives meet the increasing demand for its services."
In-person visits to the Provincial Archives now total about 10,000 per year.
"We've had lots of positive feedback about the renovations," said Marion Beyea, provincial archivist. "Visitors have found the improvements to be more comfortable, with quieter and more controlled air circulation, better lighting and a separate area for microfilm research."
Multicon Property Services Ltd. of Fredericton was awarded the $400,000 contract in June 2006, and completed the renovation work in November 2006.
The Archives is used for many types of research by academics, local historians, architects, the legal profession and writers. A large number of other inquiries involve genealogical research for vital statistics (births, marriages, deaths) as well as cemetery listings. These searches are often followed by requests for official documents. Thousands of other public inquiries are made each year through letters, e-mails, faxes and telephone calls. The Archives website (www.gnb.ca keyword: Archives) also receives about 1.5 million hits per month.
Newspaper clippings on microfilm, priceless maps, architectural drawings, video tapes, audio recordings, bound volumes, manuscript collections, government records, census records, letters and diaries, photographs and films, souvenir pictures from royal visits, and snapshots of New Brunswick life in days gone by are also to be found.
Until 1967 the original Provincial Archives building housed the University of New Brunswick library. The structure was built in the late 1920s, and an expansion was added in 1951. A major controlled-environment storage facility was added in 2003, allowing the current modifications.
MEDIA CONTACT: Judy Cole, communications officer, Supply and Services, 506-457-7903.