A management plan is a key instrument for ensuring that Parks Canada delivers on its commitments to the people of Canada. The process of management planning allows Aboriginal communities, stakeholders, partners, local residents and the public to have an effective voice in shaping the future of the site.
The plan is a forward-looking document that provides a vision for the national historic site at its future best and the strategies for getting there. The new management plan for Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site will guide Parks Canada’s decisions and actions in protecting, presenting and operating the site for the next five years.
A waterbug becomes the world’s fastest boat. Sunlight transmits the sound of laughter. Staring out onto Baddeck Bay, the impossible becomes the possible. Here, the contemplative calm of the sparkling Bras d’Or Lake became an inventor’s paradise, his inspiration. And like the grounds of Beinn Bhreagh before it, the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site is a testing ground for new technology, new ways of thinking.
Just as the Bells hosted visitors and locals alike, the museum, too, draws people from all over the world to find muse in nature, to stand in awe of both Bell 'the genius' and Bell 'the humanitarian', to marvel at the accomplishments and strength of the exceptional Mabel Bell and to celebrate tangible proof that ideas great and small can plant the seeds of discovery for generations. This is a place for community gatherings – a place to connect to the extraordinary beauty of the landscape that so captivated the Bells.
To enter the front doors of the site is like entering the beehive that was Bell’s mind, pulling you into his world. One is surrounded by his fantastical ideas as images and sounds of his inventions great and small appear and disappear on the windows and panels around you. Everything feels alive and electric as you walk through the site, enthralled by the marvels he and his associates created. The many experiments and displays are reminiscent of the trials Bell put his own ideas through. Learning by doing, expecting the unexpected, your inner child is inspired.
This is not a typical museum. This is an interactive, dynamic place, inspiring you to experience and think in new ways, see through new eyes – compelling to visit, compelling to return.
Key Strategic Directions
Key Strategy 1: Creating a dynamic space
The intent of this key strategy is to renew and reinvigorate the site in order to create a welcoming space for visitors to better experience and connect to the world of Alexander Graham Bell. The national historic site will engage the hearts and minds of visitors, communities and the many partners and stakeholders who are passionate about this special place. Their involvement in the transformation of the site is critical to its success.
This strategy will:
- update interpretation programming and develop a renewed concept for visitor experience opportunities for the site;
- enhance and improve facilities and services to broaden its appeal to potential visitors; and
- heighten the value of Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site as a leading heritage attraction on the Cabot Trail and within the Village of Baddeck.
Key Strategy 2: Connecting Canadians to the Bell legacy
This key strategy focuses on connecting Canadians to Alexander Graham Bell's legacy and offers opportunities for visitors to explore their own ingenuity through experiences at the national historic site.
The location of the Bell family collection at the national historic site offers an intimate glimpse into the world of Alexander Graham Bell. It relates a very human story about a remarkable man in a way that sets this national historic site apart from others. The narrative of Bell's life and the accomplishments he and his associates achieved during the 30 years that the Bell family spent in Baddeck are inspirational. The legacy of his achievements can be seen in our everyday lives – impacting everything from the way we communicated with each other, to how we travel.
This strategy will:
- facilitate opportunities to discover and experience Bell's legacy through the Bell family collection;
- increase opportunities for Canadians and international visitors to be inspired by Bell's accomplishments and share stories of his personal life;
- connect the objects of our everyday lives to the inventions of Bell through engaging on-site interpretation; and
- expand opportunities to tell the story of flight.
Key Strategy 3: Family, friends and visitors – A place for community
The focus of this key strategy is to work collaboratively with family, friends and community to enhance opportunities for visitor experience and foster public appreciation and understanding for the national historic site. The site will build on the success of existing relationships and work with new partners and stakeholders to create a welcoming place for community to enjoy.
This strategy will:
- continue to collaborate with the Bell family in telling the story of Alexander Graham Bell and Mabel Hubbard Bell;
- explore partnering opportunities between the site, the Alexander Graham Bell Museum Association, the Village of Baddeck, Destination Cape Breton Association and other regional and national partners and stakeholders; and
- create a welcoming space for the community to enjoy.