Jerome Walsh Museum

Jerome Walsh Museum

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Stories by the Sea

The Town of Marystown, on Newfoundland’s Burin Peninsula, was home to one of the province’s most unusual cultural sites: Jerome Walsh’s Museum. Created by the fisherman-turned-storyteller Jerome Walsh, the museum was a converted fishing shed, home to his eclectic collection of memorabilia.

After his death, however, the museum fell on hard times, and the tiny oceanside structure was in danger of falling into the sea. The challenge was to honor Jerome’s legacy and continue his work, without the larger-than-life personality of Jerome himself being present.

Our solution was to design a new flexible space for programming and interpretation, injecting Jerome’s love of the fishing life and passion for storytelling into a modern, signature site on beautiful Little Bay. With only a tiny site to work with, every square foot had to work as both public area and interpretive space, with support for both live events and conventional exhibits. 

We also worked with the town’s other museum, the Marystown Heritage Museum, to upgrade their visitor experience and build links between the town’s two foremost cultural sites.

We opted for a design that referenced Jerome and his museum rather than reconstructing the existing building.  The result was a conceptual plan that drew on the skills of our architecture, landscape architecture and interpretive design teams to develop a vision for a must-see attraction.

STATUS

2016-17 design

TYPE

architecture, landscape, exhibition strategy

CLIENT

Marystown Heritage Museum

LOCATION

Marystown, Newfoundland

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The Jerome Walsh Museum is a traditional coastal home, built on piles overhanging the shoreline.

The Jerome Walsh Museum is a traditional coastal home, built on piles overhanging the shoreline.

The first concept for the new building takes inspiration from the existing building and the traditional fishing stages found in coastal communities throughout Newfoundland.

The first concept for the new building takes inspiration from the existing building and the traditional fishing stages found in coastal communities throughout Newfoundland.

Jerome had covered the building with artifacts, many of which were painted around. The shapes and windows on the existing building face were used as inspiration for the placement of windows for this building concept.

Jerome had covered the building with artifacts, many of which were painted around. The shapes and windows on the existing building face were used as inspiration for the placement of windows for this building concept.

The orange corridor will be used to display artifacts from Jerome's collection as well as interpretive elements to tell his story. The orange colour was inspired by the existing wharf and the brightly coloured coastal homes.

The orange corridor will be used to display artifacts from Jerome's collection as well as interpretive elements to tell his story. The orange colour was inspired by the existing wharf and the brightly coloured coastal homes.

The new wharf can be used as event or performance space. A lower, floating portion, can act as a kayak or dory rental launch and allow visitors to access and view the property from the water.

The new wharf can be used as event or performance space. A lower, floating portion, can act as a kayak or dory rental launch and allow visitors to access and view the property from the water.

A large portrait of Jerome on the panel across the road will send visitors off with a smile and a wave.

A large portrait of Jerome on the panel across the road will send visitors off with a smile and a wave.

The site plan enforces the linear nature of the building and the wharf. The property will be treated to blend in with the surrounding landscape while providing accessible paths, picnic areas, and spill out space for events

The site plan enforces the linear nature of the building and the wharf. The property will be treated to blend in with the surrounding landscape while providing accessible paths, picnic areas, and spill out space for events

The second building option prepared features a more open space facing the bay. A covered wharf adds space for events and gathering.

The second building option prepared features a more open space facing the bay. A covered wharf adds space for events and gathering.

A wall of buoys greets visitors as they approach the site

A wall of buoys greets visitors as they approach the site

Panoramic windows face the bay and provide connection to the water.

Panoramic windows face the bay and provide connection to the water.

Landscape Option 2.jpg