Royal BC Museum gets $789 million overhaul – Smithers Interior News

The Royal BC Museum will close in September as the province has earmarked $789 million for a new, state-of-the-art, earthquake-resistant building slated to open in 2030. The RBCM itself will also contribute to the modernization project through its campaigns. of financing.

“It has been a real honor to be part of this historic moment,” said Melanie Mark, Minister for Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport in the moving announcement on Friday May 13.

The new museum will reflect the experiences and perspectives of all who have contributed to British Columbia’s history, providing a cultural legacy for generations to come.

“This is just the beginning,” said Chief Rob Thomas of the Esquimalt Nation during the announcement. “The Lekwungen, we have been excluded from almost everything for a long time…to be a partner of BC and the museum in our traditional territory means so much to me.

The purpose of a museum is to inspire learning and innovation while challenging perspectives, attitudes, how we think and how we interact with the world, said museum CEO Alicia Dubois.

“This is a huge and long overdue announcement,” she added.

While the physical building will close for modernization, the museum will not. Instead, it will rely on traveling programs and displays and enhance digital offerings.

“This is an opportunity for us to have conversations and learn more about all British Columbians through community engagement. We want to hear your stories and understand what you would like to see in a modern museum,” said Dubois.

For decades people have come to know the province and the stories told here have failed to accurately reflect colonial history or include everyone, Premier John Horgan said, adding that priceless collections are also threatened in the aging building. The current building opened in August 1968.

The third-floor galleries have long been criticized for celebrating the province’s European settlement and underrepresenting Indigenous peoples and immigrant communities. In November 2021, following a damning internal report on racism, the museum announced that it would close the galleries in early 2022 and begin a consultation process to determine how to replace them.

The museum closes on September 6. The BC Archives, also housed in the Belleville Street building in Victoria, will remain open until they move to their new permanent home at the Collections and Research Building in Colwood. This project is expected to be completed by 2025. Imax Victoria, the museum’s gift shop and food trucks will remain open and on site until early 2023.

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Betty K. Park