Museum Expansion

Windsor's Community Museum Expansion
Project 2014/2015

Museum Expansion Project LogoTelling our stories. Sharing yours.

The Recreation and Culture Department of the City of Windsor is moving forward with improvements to the City's Community Museum. This project includes storage and exhibit space improvements at the Francois Baby House (254 Pitt Street West) and expansion of the museum to occupy the first floor of 401 Riverside Drive West, formerly occupied by the Art Gallery of Windsor (AGW). The AGW does and will continue to occupy the second and third floors of 401 Riverside Drive West.

Project Highlights

Some improvements expected for 401 Riverside Drive West include:
  • A new, permanent, engaging exhibit on Windsor
  • Exhibition/programming space with a proposed theme of First Nations/Original Peoples
  • Efficient auditorium/programming/temporary gallery space
  • A new Children's Gallery with dynamic exhibits and interactivity created from the former gift shop and art rental and sales space
  • Development of exhibition/display space in the Concourse
  • Development of retail space in the southwest area of the Concourse
  • Development of temporary exhibit/programming space in the former restaurant area
  • Modification of the entrance way
  • Improvements to the infrastructure to preserve and protect the collections, including, but not limited to HVAC system improvements; security system updates; IT and telephone system upgrades; and conversion to LED lighting
  • Creation of additional storage space through restructuring the mezzanine, and repurposing the former gift shop storage room into artefact storage
Some improvements expected for the François Baby House include:
  • Converting the children's activity area to visible storage space
  • Development of a permanent gallery on Francophone Heritage
  • Development of a permanent gallery on the War of 1812, the Battle of Windsor, and the history of the Baby House
  • Expansion of space in the Francois Baby House to showcase the Museum's archives

Steering Committee

  • City Councillor R. Bortolin

  • City Councillor F. Francis

  • City Councillor J Gignac (Chair)

  • Arbitrator - Chief Administrative Officer Helga Reidel

Executive Committee

  • Jelena Payne, Community Development & Health Services Commissioner and Project Sponsor

  • Jan Wilson, Executive Director of Recreation & Culture

  • France Isabelle-Tunks, Senior Manager of Development & Geomatics

  • Shelby Askin-Hager, City Solicitor

  • Tom Graziano, Manager of Facility Operations

  • Onorio Colucci, City Treasurer

Working Team

  • Colleen Middaugh, Project Administrator; Project Manager

  • Madelyn DellaValle, Curator, Windsor's Community Museum; Project Manager (Exhibitions)

  • Cathy Masterson, Manager of Cultural Affairs

  • Hariri Pontarini Architects (HPA), Architect

  • Lord Cultural Resources, Exhibit Consultant

  • Josie Gualtieri (Liza Webb), Financial Planning Administrator, Finance

  • Jill Braido, Communications and Customer Service

  • Matt Caplin, IT

  • Cheryl Glassford, Legal

  • Administrative Resource: Leslie Prieur (Working Team and Executive Committee; Karen Kadour (Steering Committee)

  • Sandra Bradt, Executive Initiatives Coordinator

  • Mike Smithson, Facilities

  • Elaine Castellan, Purchasing

Important Documents

Council Reports / Meeting Agendas / Meeting Minutes

Completed Project Steps

Project Management & Design

  • Finalization and submission of the grant application.
  • Striking Committee approval for Steering Committee.
  • Finalization of the Project Charter - approved June 30, 2014 by M284-2014.
  • Site visit to Waterloo Regional Museum to discuss their museum development project.
  • Award of contract for Architectural Consulting Services and Exhibition Planning Services (RFP39-14) - Hariri Pontarini Architects and Lord Cultural Resources.
  • Ongoing Consulting/Design services, including:
    • Visioning sessions with project team members.
    • Development and presentation of conceptual design plans and exterior renderings.
    • Consultation with the Art Gallery of Windsor, Windsor Accessibility & Advisory Committee, members of the Aboriginal and Francophone Communities, various stakeholders and the public.
    • Architectural, mechanical, structural and electrical design development.
    • Exhibit development, based on the approved Interpretive Plan and Concept Design for the exhibitions.
    • Ongoing internal project management of design/construction works.

Building Construction

  • Completed security system upgrades at 401 Riverside Drive West.
  • Issued a Request for Pre-Qualification of Contractors and reviewed submissions.
  • Finalized the Tender Drawings and Specifications for the building renovation works.
  • Issued a Request for Tender (No. 108-14) to the Pre-Qualified Contractors for the building renovation work and awarded the contract to Oscar Construction Company Limited.
  • Hosted the Construction Kick-off Ceremony (Friday October 17, 2014).
  • Construction Progress Includes:
    • Completion of interior demolition.
    • Completion of mechanical and electrical building system improvements (including HVAC improvements, and new lighting upgrades).
    • Completion of interior work (finishes, flooring, millwork, framing, etc.).
    • Completion of exterior work (canopy painting, door painting, etc.).
    • Completion of new passenger elevator installation.
    • Removal of interior and exterior hoarding.
    • Ongoing work on finalizing As-Built Drawings, Maintenance Manuals and addressing remaining outstanding deficiencies.

Exhibit Fabrication

  • Issued a Request for Pre-Qualification of Exhibition Fabricators and reviewed submissions.
  • Finalized the Tender Drawings and Specifications for the exhibition fabrication works.
  • Issued a Request for Tender (No. 3-15) to the Pre-Qualified Contractors for the exhibition fabrication work and awarded the contract to Holman Exhibits.
  • Site visit to Holman's office/warehouse to review prototypes and fabrication progress.
  • Ongoing exhibit development, including content and design review.

Next Project Steps

  • Summer 2015 - Building renovations complete.
  • Late 2015 - Exhibit fabrication and installation complete.
  • Winter 2016 - Start of Chimczuk Museum Operations, including exhibits.
  • Winter 2016 - Grand Opening of Chimczuk Museum.
  • Note: The Francois Baby House will be closed for exhibit installation beginning Friday September 25, 2015. It will reopen late in 2015.

Museum Expansion Project in the News

Project Key Stakeholders and Partners

  • Mayor and City Council
  • The Corporation of the City of Windsor
  • Recreation and Culture Department
  • Art Gallery of Windsor
  • Windsor's Community Museum
  • Construction and Trades Industry
  • Windsor Historic Sites Association

Project Partners - Consultant Team

  • Hariri Pontarini Architects (HPA)

  • Lord Cultural Resources

Project Partners - Construction Team

Building Renovations

  • Oscar Construction Company Limited

Exhibit Fabrication/Installation

  • Holman Exhibits

Project Contacts

Committee Chair
Jelena Payne
Project Sponsor, Community Development & Health Services Commissioner
519-255-5200 x 5232. Email:
Colleen Middaugh
Project Manager, Construction
Phone: 519-255-6100 x 6603. Email:
Madelyn Della Valle

Project Manager, Exhibitions; Curator, Windsor's Community Museum
Phone: 519-253-1812. Email:
(Including French interviews)

Windsor's Community Museum Lord Cultural Resources Hariri Pontarini Architects (HPA) Windsor's Community Museum Online Database Southwestern Ontario Heritage Council Art Gallery of Windsor Construction Launch Event Flickr Album