10/15/2012 07:09 EDT | Updated 12/15/2012 05:12 EST

Museum Of Civilization To Become History

Gatineau, Quebec: Canadian Museum of Civilization. Photographer: Zwergelstern migration relicense. Category:Canadian Museum of Civilization ...

The Canadian Museum of Civilization, the country's largest museum, will be rebranded as the Canadian Museum of History to reflect a focus on Canadian social and political history.

Heritage Minister James Moore said the rebranding of the museum comes in anticipation of plans to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017.

The museum is expected to include displays on major milestones since Confederation, including the Last Spike from construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, Montreal Canadiens legend Maurice (Rocket) Richard's hockey jersey and items from Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope.

"Canadians deserve a national museum that tells our stories and presents our country's treasures to the world," said Moore in a statement from the museum, which is in Gatineau, Que., across the Ottawa River from Parliament Hill.

"Our children need to know more about Canada's past," said Moore.

$25M to be one-time federal investment

About 50,000 square feet of the museum, about half of its permanent and temporary gallery, is expected to be renovated as part of the change.

The Museum of Civilization's First Peoples Hall, a permanent exhibit of aboriginal artifacts from across Canada, is expected to remain where it is, as will areas such as the children's gallery and IMAX theatre.

The transformation is expected to cost a one-time investment of $25 million funded through Canadian Heritage.

Moore said the federal government will introduce changes to the Museums Act to change the name and mandate of the museum.

The Museum of Civilization's current mandate as defined in the Museums Act is:

Museum attracts 1.2 million visitors annually

CBC News has learned the changes have the support of museum staff, the board of directors and architect Douglas Cardinal, who designed the building that currently housing the museum.

The change follows from one of the strategic directions approved by the museum's board of directors in 2009.

It called for the museum to broaden its national collections and its curatorial research "to better reflect and present national narratives, symbols and achievements through the human, social, cultural, military and political history dimensions of Canadian life."

The Museum of Civilization, previously called The National Museum of Man, is the most popular museum in the National Capital Region, attracting about 1.2 million visitors annually.

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