Burlington’s Joseph Brant Museum Transformation

Thirty years of planning and $11.4 million dollars later, the Joseph Brant Museum in Burlington, Ontario, is finally ready to welcome visitors back inside. The Museum was originally opened in 1942 as a replica of the house of Joseph Brant ‘Thayendanegea,’ a Mohawk military and political leader. Now, it boasts an additional 12,000 square feet, which will include four new exhibition spaces, collections storage, educational programming space and a gift shop.  The additional space will allow the hosting of travelling exhibits and showcase more of the Museum’s collection of 25,000 artifacts.

Joseph Brant ‘Thayendanegea’

The new galleries will interpret Burlington’s history and tell Joseph Brant’s story. They will also highlight the famous Brant Inn – a popular entertainment venue that hit its heyday during the 1940s and 50s – and the ‘Big Band’ era of music popular during the first half of the 20th century. The new Discovery Gallery will provide a hands-on interactive space designed for children.

“Big Band” era at the Brant Inn, Burlington

An additional space will be dedicated to travelling exhibits. The inaugural exhibit opens October 6: “Part of the Machine: Rock and Pinball” is an interactive display of rock-themed, playable pinball machines combined with historic merchandise and artifacts. The pinball machines feature icons such as KISS, Guns ‘n’ Roses, The Who, and Elton John, among others.

The new LEED-certified building will also feature a green roof, which will showcase an assortment of grasses, native plants, paved walkways, and park benches. The City of Burlington has put out a call to Indigenous Artists and Indigenous-led teams to submit expressions of interest to create a permanent public artwork for Joseph Brant Museum to be installed on the green roof.

Artist rendering of Joesph Brant Museum, Burlington

“We are immensely grateful to our federal, provincial and city partners, as well as many private and corporate donors, staff, board members and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to see this project through to completion,” says Director of Museums of Burlington, Barbara Teatero. “The facility opening is the culmination of a multi-year, visionary process for everyone involved. We’re beyond excited to reveal this unique, distinctive space and the foundational exhibitions to the public and visitors to Burlington.”

The Museum will be open for Doors Open Ontario on September 28th and will be offering a behind-the- scenes tour, pre-registration required. More information can be found at museumsofburlington.ca.

The Joseph Brant Museum is part of the National Trust’s Passport Places program and entrance is free for National Trust members.