Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

National Vascular Plant Herbarium & National Mycological Herbarium

Central Experimental Farm

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The Canadian national herbaria are currently housed in an early 20th century Recognized Federal Heritage Building located on the Central Experimental Farm in downtown Ottawa, Canada.  The needs

of the collections and the activities of the two herbaria have changed and expanded over the years to the point where they exceed the capacity and capabilities of their existing facilities.  Conditions are such that collections are now in a state of crisis and valuable material is being lost.  Researchers and collection staff work in tight conditions and dated facilities that no longer meet the requirements of today’s “best practices” in collection care and modern research.  More space, improved conditions and updated facilities are required to preserve the collections and meet the needs of the important research being undertaken.

WeatherstonBruer were retained to undertake a study that established a detailed understanding of the requirements of the herbaria and explore alternative approaches for improving the existing facilities and/or developing new ones.  The project included a critical review of existing facilities, working closely with herbaria staff to prepare an assessment of collection requirements, development of a comprehensive program of facilities and establishment of all necessary criteria to facilitate a solution to the expanding requirements of the Herbaria.

Four alternative approaches to the herbaria were explored:

1)       Renovation of the existing building to develop the necessary facilities while respecting the heritage designation

2)       Renovation of the existing building with a new addition specifically designed to meet the environmental requirements of the herbaria collection while again respecting the heritage designation

3)       Renovation of another larger facility (also with a heritage designation) on the Central Experimental Farm

4)       Development of a new building on the Farm