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LETTER: Museum closure will be a loss to us all

Mayor Danny Breen said the city is closing the Railway Coastal Museum, and repurposing it for public use. He was mum on details, but said it’s something he thinks people will find exciting. -KEITH GOSSE/THE TELEGRAM
Mayor Danny Breen has announced the city is closing the Railway Coastal Museum and repurposing it for public use. — Telegram file photo

I write regarding the closure of the Newfoundland Railway Coastal Museum.

As a railway historian, author and researcher, I and many others from across Canada are shocked to learn about the closing of the Railway Coastal Museum in St. John’s. Although I am from far-off Ontario, the museum has been one of the many historic sites visited on our Newfoundland vacations. I have spent personal time researching both railway and coastal shipping photos for the museum’s use at the National Archives in Ottawa, and even personally donated a small yet unique railway artifact to the museum’s collection.

It is appreciated that St. John’s city council, and indeed decision-makers at all levels across Canada, are faced with difficult budgetary decisions during these pandemic-riddled times. However, the pandemic will pass — and, as they say in the medical profession, the initial priority is to do no permanent harm. Temporary closures and cutbacks are necessary, and so be it. But the proposed closure of the museum will result in the permanent loss of a valued knowledge resource, housed within the most appropriate venue possible for its interpretation and display.

Ralph Beaumont

Brant, Ont.


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