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Developing a Character-Based Tourism Product at Your Site 
By: Thomas G. Daley and Shawn J. McCarthy, PhD,
Friends of Beaubears Island

It has been argued that interactive and character-based experiences are the future for New Brunswick and its many museums and heritage sites. While costumed re-enactment can never replace the value of an artifact, or stand substitute for a historic property, it can certainly lend greater worth to both, by taking history off the page, so to speak. What follows is a very brief description of the process of implementing an interactive character offering. 

In the beginning, it can sometimes feel as though the inclusion of a character will act as a tonic, solving problems while creating new, and exciting opportunities. While this is possible, with a good deal of hard work, it is better, at the outset, to consider the addition of a character as an important, but not paramount, piece of the overall guest experience. When deciding how a character will contribute to this, it is best to consult interpretive plans and strategies, however informal, for gaps in the overall interpretive narrative, or stories that might benefit from a first-person narrator. Read more...

Museums and Community Engagement
 
By Kellie Blue-McQuade, Executive Director, Association Heritage New Brunswick

If you think museums are nothing more than old buildings with artifacts gathering dust, you haven’t been to one lately. Today, museums are alive; they are a hub for advancement, education, wellness and community pride. It is a place where people go to learn about what they care about. 

The classification or term “Community Museum” really makes sense, because they operate hand in hand. Museums today cannot survive without community engagement. Successful museums are sensitive to their community’s needs and strive to form positive relationships and partnerships. 

Dr. Bruce D. Thibodeau, originally from Grand Falls, NB is the President of Arts Consulting Group Canada, Ltd. He spoke at the CMA conference in Toronto, last spring, on the necessity of engaging the community to develop an effective strategic plan. A successful strategic plan begins with a proactive Board and an organized Staff who listens to what their community wants and needs most. Choosing a diverse committee from the community to build the museum’s strategic plan will have the broadest and deepest community impactRead more...

Old Churches, New Futures 
By Lee Sochasky, 
AHNB Board member

New Brunswick’s historic church buildings give a unique window into our province’s past, and future. Our early churches were founded on social and economic concepts that changed dramatically after WWII – and at an accelerating pace now – and a growing number of church buildings have been abandoned or demolished, as not fitting with the times. These buildings are an important part of our national heritage. Their rapid loss led the National Trust for Canada to create a special initiative to save more of them: https://regenerationworks.ca/places-of-faith/ 

Can our historic churches find new futures in today’s fast-changing society? Yes, by looking to creative local solutions and centuries-old concepts. Read more...

Covered Bridges Conservation in New Brunswick 
By Bill Caswell, National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges 

New Brunswick’s covered bridges have been receiving a great deal of attention lately. While this is fantastic news for the historic preservation community, it resulted from two unfortunate losses. The French Village (Hammond River #2) Bridge in Kings County was removed in 2017 and the Bell (South Oromocto River #3) Bridge in Sunbury County was badly damaged by high water and ice and removed in January 2018. New Brunswick's historic covered bridges are not only a vital component of the transportation network, they are also an important part of its heritage and too many have been lost in recent years. In addition to their heritage value, they provide an economic benefit by attracting tourists to the communities near these structures. Read more...

Engineering for Old Buildings

By Dr. Thomas Morrison, P.Eng., CAHP, Heritage Standing Inc.

Our surroundings impact who we are. This includes our built environment and our buildings. I believe it is important to conserve our buildings by finding ways they can contribute to a vibrant life. I believe in sustainability and the importance of re-using what we already have. I believe that working within the constraints old buildings initiates new and exciting ideas; and contrary to popular belief, I know from experience that it is usually less expensive to conserve an old building than to build new. 

Heritage Standing Inc (where I serve as the Principal Engineer) is an engineering firm focused exclusively on helping clients with old building challenges. Our values are reflected in what we do, and our desire to make the world more sustainable and to contribute to societal well being is an ideal match with our technical knowledge of old buildings. Read more...