Biosphere museum's future in doubt
Published Thursday, May 30, 2013 9:41PM EDT
A landmark Montreal museum appears to have an uncertain future, as the federal agency that runs the Biosphere has pared down its staff and attractions and has stopped accepting reservations from school groups.
The Biosphere, known for its globe-like shape on the horizon, has been operated by the federal government since 1990 as Canada’s only museum devoted to the environment.
A union representative told CTV Montreal half of the workers have been transferred elsewhere or been offered buyouts to terminate their employment contracts.
“I believe that it’s a transition to move to total closure,” said Todd Panos of the Union of Environmental Workers.
The federal organization that runs the museum is tight-lipped on its plans but it says that it has no plans to close the attractions, yet it also makes no promises about keeping staff.
Some have speculated that some of the exhibit space could be sacrificed to make room for a possible transfer of federal environment employees currently toiling downtown.
The city has six years remaining on its contract with the federal government for the rental of the space, which costs it $1 a year.
The museum will be closed this fall for renovations and there is no timetable for its reopening.
The structure was built for Expo '67 as the U.S. pavillion, based on a design by Buckminster Fuller who described it as a geodesic dome.
Its outer layer burnt in 1976 in one of the more spectacular fires in city history.