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British Columbia Royal Museum

Updated on December 29, 2015

Edified in 1886 in Victoria British Columbia at Canada, the Royal British Columbia Museum embodies the natural and human history museum of British Columbia, in the mean time that it preserves its Provincial Archives. The Government of BC had founded the Royal BC Museum, in response to a petition from citizens concerned about the cultural history of the province.


The museum is located close to the Victoria Harbor, between the Parliament Building and the Empress Hotel. Historical monuments of the city, including the Thunderbird Park, surround the museum.

In October 25, 1886, the Provincial Museum of Natural History and Anthropology had opened its doors to the public. The first curator of the museum was the naturalist John Fannin, who had donated to the museum, his own large collection of birds and animals. Gradually, the Royal BC Museum increased in notoriety. In 1921, the basement of the legislature was annexed to the museum. In 1967, during the celebration of the centennial of Canada, the Premier of BC, WAC Bennett, had inaugurated its new building.

In 1987 during his royal visit to Victoria, HRH Prince Philippe had awarded to the museum the "Royal" title, approved beforehand by Queen Elizabeth II. In 2003, the Provincial Archives of British Columbia were annexed to the museum.

The Royal BC Museum encompasses three permanent galleries: The gallery of First Nations History, the gallery of Natural History, and the gallery of the Modern History. The museum's collections include about 7 million articles. 750,000 records of specimens almost exclusively of British Columbia and surrounding areas enrich the Natural History collections. They are split into several branches, which include botany, paleontology, invertebrate zoology, as well as mammals and ornithology.

First Nations Gallery

At the third floor, the gallery of the First Nations exhibits a large collection of objects from First Nations, particularly belonging to the people of the Haida. Visitors can watch the model of a native village with its totems, its customers and its masks. An exhibition of photography by artist Bill Reid is part of show.

The Natural History Gallery

The Natural History gallery on the second floor contains the popular woolly mammoth. It offers information about fossils, and exposes on posters, the geographic diversity of the province, from prehistory to the present time. The museum also contains ponds containing live crabs and the starfishes. More recently, a section on climate change and the effect of the global warming have been added to the gallery. Visitors can also admire the ocean Station in addition of a submarine from the Victorian period.

The Gallery of Modern History

The modern history gallery on the third floor begins with "Century Hall," a collection of objects and replicas of the history of British Columbia over the past 200 years. Visitors pass through "the old town" Victoria, a life size model in the 1870s-1920s, including a replica of a Victorian cobbled street in the early twentieth century. Also, the exhibition shows the forestry, the fishing and the mining of yore. Moreover, in the same gallery the visitor appreciates the narrative exploration of the original Fort Victoria and the replica of the ship of captain George Vancouver, the pioneer of BC exploration.

The itinerates exhibitions hosted by the museum include articles of the RMS Titanic, certain masterworks of Leonardo da Vinci, Egyptian antiquities, and articles of Genghis Khan. The movie theater IMAX of the museum, display educational movies as well as entertainment games.

Among famous exhibits of the museum, was the 1965 Rolls Royce Phantom Limousine of John Lennon. Jim Pattison a Vancouver Billionaire had purchased the car and had donated it to the Museum.

Museum And Conservation

Created in 1966, the conservation foundation of the Royal BC Museum embodies the first Western Canadian archival institutions. Thus, the museum also plays the role of documentation storage of the Province. Its museum conservator makes known the foundation to the interested visitors. He gives conferences; at the same time he supervises the students and trainee coming from around the world. During the decade 1970 and 1980, restorers and conservation scientists were interested to the Haida people and the preservation of Ninstints. Since 1999, at that time of the discovery of the remains of Kwäday Dän Ts'inchi, the Conservatives were involved in the project of archives’ salvage.

Various volunteering groups contribute to the development and maintenance of the Royal BC Museum. These are for the most volunteers whose number exceeds the 500. We can cite among them the Royal BC Museum Foundation (formerly Friends of the Royal BC Museum Foundation), a non-profit organization established in 1970 to financially support the museum, and help in fulfilling its mission of cultural structure of the province.


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