Museum reopens NWT Archives, cleanup continues after fire

Museum Alive! Open House

Yellowknife (January 6, 2012) – The Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre (PWNHC) reopened the NWT Archives yesterday after a chimney fire damaged a small area inside the building on Boxing Day.

Detected early in the morning on December 26, the fire was found in and around the chimney, resulting in damage to the mechanical and kitchen areas. The Fire Department responded immediately and contained the fire, lessening the impact to the rest of the Museum. The majority of the fire damage was limited to the Museum Café kitchen. Fire recovery teams have been working long days to ensure a comprehensive cleanup and that all affected areas are identified, from the basement to the roof. The exact cause of the fire is still unknown, pending further investigation.All of the collections, artifacts, exhibits and climate controlled environments were undamaged and remain intact.

“We are very lucky that the fire was contained so quickly,” said Barb Cameron, Director of PWNHC. “The response time from the fire department, the diligence of the fire recovery teams, and all of the people working to help us have all made a very difficult situation much easier. We thank them, and will open our doors to the public when the building is ready.”

While the Fire Department made an initial estimate of the damage, an assessment is ongoing to identify the full cost of the damage.

The first step towards normal operation begins Thursday, January 5, with the reopening of the NWT Archives for regular hours: 9am to 12pm and 1pm to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday. Anyone visiting the Archives must sign in at the front desk, and access will be restricted to the Archives Reading Room and the washroom facilities. All other areas of the PWNHC will be closed until further notice.

The Archives houses the history of the NWT for safekeeping, including the oral tradition and history of NWT Aboriginal peoples, constitutional development in the NWT leading up to the creation of Nunavut, the activities of the Government of the Northwest Territories since 1967, the fur trade, aviation industry and the development of the mining industry.

Visit the museum website for regular updates.

For more information, contact:

Jacqueline McKinnon
Manager, Public Affairs
Education, Culture and Employment