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Free admission this weekend as Royal Alberta Museum prepares to move

EDMONTON – After 48 years of exhibits and events, the Royal Alberta Museum has outgrown its home in Glenora and is getting ready to move into bigger and better space in downtown Edmonton.

But such an occasion wouldn’t be complete without a proper send off. To celebrate, the RAM is throwing a massive 48-hour long ‘Goodbye, Hello’ party this coming weekend.

Party time

From Friday afternoon until Sunday morning the doors will be open and admission will be free, so Albertans can have one last look at the creepy crawlies in the Bug Room, marvel at the elk and bighorn sheep in the Wild Alberta exhibit and take part in the many events and performances planned just for the party.

On Friday night there will be swing dancing, a pop-up market and crafting. On both Saturday and Sunday mornings classic Looney Tunes cartoons are being shown in the theatre – pajamas are welcome.

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There will be several movie marathons. Overnight on Friday horror flicks will be shown. On Saturday morning the museum will play all of the Ice Age films, and in the evening, fittingly, the Night at the Museum trilogy.

Global News will also have our pop-up photo booth on site throughout the weekend, and Happy Harbour Comics will be attempting to create the world’s largest comic book in 48 hours. Many other family-friendly events are planned.

The big move

Once the doors close on Sunday night, the museum won’t be open again until late 2017 or early 2018 when the new $375.5 million facility is ready for the public.

The Royal Alberta Museum is home to thousands of historic artifacts, gems, jewels, paintings and even antique clothes and shoes – but the collection is too extensive for the space, so much of it has languished in underground vaults.

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“We can’t display everything we have,” Cathy Roy, curator with the Royal Alberta Museum explained back in May. “We have hundreds of thousands of items in the museum.”

WATCH: The Royal Alberta Museum is home to hundreds of thousands of treasures, and Michel Boyer takes us to a part of the museum we’ve never been before.

The museum is transitioning from west of Groat Road to its new downtown facility, which is being built on the old Canada Post site at 97th Street and 103a Avenue. The new building will have double the space of the existing facility. Construction began in 2014, and is expected to be done in 2016.

Transitioning to the new facility will be a massive undertaking. In addition to designing new galleries, museum staff has to physically pack up and move thousands of delicate artifacts.

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READ MORE: Exploring the jewels kept out of sight at the Royal Alberta Museum

It is one of the biggest and most complex moves the province has ever seen. Custom moving boxes have been made for many of the items.

Once in the new facility, time is needed to install the new exhibits. The museum says it will have a better idea of when the new building will open once construction wraps up next year.

For more information on the move, visit the Museum on the Move FAQ.

WATCH: Alberta’s history will soon have a new home.  A bigger and better Royal Alberta Museum will be moving downtown. To celebrate they are throwing a massive 48 hour party this coming weekend. Culture And Tourism Minister David Eggen and Chris Robinson from the Royal Alberta Museum joined the Morning News with more details.

With files from Michel Boyer, Global News

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