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BADDECK — There are numerous changes planned for the Bell museum over the coming months aimed at enhancing the visitor experience.
As part of the Silver Dart Centennial celebrations in 2009, $3 million in federal funding was earmarked for improvements to the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site.
“We did a management plan last year to look at redeveloping the interior of the museum beginning with the front hall,” said museum superintendent Ed Kennedy. “Already the flat roof areas of the building, with the exception of the two viewing decks, that were leaking during heavy rains were replaced.”
Single pane windows at the side of the building overlooking Baddeck Bay have been replaced with double pane, energy efficient windows providing a panoramic view of the Bras d’Or Lake.
A range of kites that were hanging in the front section of the museum have been removed to give it a bright, airy atmosphere.
Another major change was the relocation of the Tetrahedral Cafe from the former superintendent’s home, which was across the driveway, into the main building.
“Initially, we went to the public to see what suggestions people had to improve the visitor experience,” Kennedy said. “Moving the coffee shop and offering wireless Internet was one of those suggestions, and it has worked out well. It ties in communication which was so important to Bell.”
Over the winter months wooden boxes along the top level of the main hall will be removed and replaced with a clear glass railing. This will allow patrons in the coffee shop to see what’s happening in the kids area or enjoy the view of the lake.
A board room at the end of the top level of the main hall has been transformed into the museum gift shop.
“There is more space for displays, it’s cheery, bright and an ideal location for the museum store.”
As part of the ongoing renovations the large interactive stations in the main hall will be removed and replaced with up-to-date user friendly technology.
An interactive interpretive flat screen television in the main hall will feature information about the Bell estate at Beinn Bhreagh and the Bras d’Or Lake biosphere designation.
“We are doing the changes in phases, so this year we’ll focus on the main hall and the children’s activity area which will feature interactive touch screen TV panels,” he said. “It’s important to ensure an enjoyable visitor experience and at the same time clearly communicate the importance of the work of Alexander Graham Bell.”
Staff are waiting on recommendations from a landscape architect on a design that will best utilize the green area at the front of the building.
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