The Antique Automobile Museum in Edmundston, which has been closed since 2019 due to structural issues, is set to reopen next year with a new look and upgraded facilities. The provincial government, the New Brunswick Museum and the City of Edmundston have announced a joint partnership for the renewal of the museum, which showcases a collection of vintage cars from the 20th century.
A staple in the community
The museum was established in the mid-1970s by the late Gerard Ouellette, a local businessman and car enthusiast who amassed a collection of over 70 antique automobiles, ranging from a 1904 Oldsmobile to a 1975 Bricklin. The museum also features other memorabilia such as gas pumps, signs, license plates and model cars.
The museum has been a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike, who enjoy learning about the history and evolution of automobiles. The museum also hosts special events such as car shows, rallies and parades.
However, the museum had to close its doors in 2019 after an inspection revealed that the building needed major repairs and upgrades. The roof, windows, doors, electrical system and ventilation were all found to be in poor condition.
A partnership for preservation
In order to restore the museum and preserve its valuable collection, the provincial government, the New Brunswick Museum and the City of Edmundston have agreed to work together on a renewal project. An architect and a project manager have been hired to develop a design for the museum and address the necessary upgrades.
The first phase of the project will begin this fall, with the replacement of the roof. More details will be shared in the coming months.
The provincial government will provide funding for the project through its capital budget. The New Brunswick Museum will provide expertise and assistance in managing and displaying the collection. The City of Edmundston will provide land and infrastructure support for the museum.
“We are very grateful to the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture and the New Brunswick Museum,” said Edmundston Mayor Eric Marquis. “This partnership will give new life to the Antique Automobile Museum, whose temporary closure saddened many people. This is great news for the tourism sector, for the regional economy, and for the preservation of our heritage.”
A legacy for future generations
The renewal of the Antique Automobile Museum is expected to be completed by next year, when it will reopen to the public with a new look and improved facilities. The museum will continue to showcase its unique collection of vintage cars, as well as offer educational programs and activities for visitors of all ages.
“The Antique Automobile Museum has been a staple in the community since it opened in the mid-1970s, and it is important to take the necessary steps to properly restore the building and share the collections with the public,” said Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister Tammy Scott-Wallace. “Working alongside communities to strengthen cultural experiences, conserve history and promote our heritage is our top priority.”
The renewal project is also seen as an opportunity to honour the legacy of Gerard Ouellette, who passed away in 2016 at the age of 90. Ouellette was passionate about cars and dedicated his life to collecting and preserving them for future generations.
“He was a visionary who saw the value of these cars not only as vehicles, but as pieces of art and history,” said his son, Denis Ouellette, who is also involved in the museum. “He wanted to share his passion with others and inspire them to appreciate these cars as much as he did.”