A museum reimagined.
Glenbow is more than a building. It is more than the objects and artworks that we hold in the collection. Whether people experience Glenbow in person with a visit to the museum, in their classroom, in a digital space or on social media, they'll find authentic, enriching content. We bring people together to encounter art, culture and history in active and personal ways.
What's the plan?
Glenbow's home is a building that is 44 years old and showing its age. After a building assessment in 2018, it became clear that our situation was urgent. The estimate to fully assess and mitigate all the issues and replace aging internal systems started at $17 million. Glenbow holds a nationally significant collection of art and cultural material that is owned by the people of Alberta, and our ability to care for it and ensure that our community has access to it was at risk.
Provincial support for a revitalized building will allow us to increase public access to the collection and positively impact the cultural prosperity of our city and the province as a whole.
Downtown is the right location â€“ we're not building something from scratch, we're making use of the advantages that exist in this purpose-built building, transforming it and giving it a new life.
We're next door to other cultural organizations who are all doing amazing work to connect with Calgarians and engage new and bigger audiences, and that's an exciting place to be. Together we are at the heart of Calgary's cultural district and we all play a crucial role in ensuring downtown Calgary is a healthy, vibrant destination for everyone.
As we reinvent Glenbow, we'll be able to solve issues that weren't considered in the early 1970s when they designed this building. Post renovations, our new building will be accessible, welcoming and sustainable, both financially and environmentally.
Glenbow is a place of confluence - a meeting point for people and communities to join a flow of ideas, knowledge, opinions and experiences
How did we get here?
We've been revitalizing Glenbow's program for several years. We are now in a position where we can move forward with a capital campaign and a plan for a revitalized building.
Since 2013, Glenbow's board and staff have been focused on financial stability and sustainability. That work has allowed us to move past the status quo and start to envision bigger goals for Glenbow.
In 2015 we engaged Calgary architecture firm Dialog Design to produce architectural concept drawings and worked with an international museum consulting firm to inspire our plans for Glenbow's future.
Since 2017, we have been doing extensive stakeholder engagement and audience research to dig into big questions about how Glenbow serves our community and improve our impact.
We used that feedback and data to inform a strategic planning process in 2018 that identified clear ways Glenbow needed to evolve to serve our community better.
In 2019 we undertook renovations of our current gallery spaces to act on that mandate and make Glenbow's collection more accessible. We're rotating more exhibitions more often and presenting content with fresh and diverse perspectives.
We have also mounted ambitious, nationally significant exhibitions of art, fashion and culture that have helped increase our general attendance since 2013 by more than 42 percent.
We've been building on our history of community collaboration and engaging with Indigenous stakeholders to ensure our program meets their needs and expectations.
Starting in 2013 we began to break down more barriers and offer free admission to thousands of people through sponsored initiatives like Free First Thursday Night and Community Day. Through these and other special access programs, over 33,000 people were able to visit Glenbow for free last year alone.