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Royal BC Museum to close in September as province plans new inclusive building for 2030

Click to play video: 'Royal BC Museum to undergo transformation to make it more inclusive for all British Columbians' Royal BC Museum to undergo transformation to make it more inclusive for all British Columbians
B.C. Premier John Horgan announced Friday that the Royal BC Museum in Victoria will close in September to allow it to undergo a transformation to be inclusive of all British Columbians. The museum will also incorporate mass timber construction and create jobs, Horgan said – May 13, 2022

The B.C. government is set to spend three quarters of a billion dollars to build a brand new Royal BC Museum in Victoria.

The current museum will close its doors for the rebuild in September.

The new seismically safe museum will better “reflect the experiences and perspectives” of all who contributed to B.C.’s history, the government said.

Read more: Royal BC Museum to start process of decolonization with changes to galleries

The province is spending $789-million for the new project.

“For decades, people from British Columbia and around the globe have come to the Royal BC Museum to learn about our special corner of the world,” B.C. Premier John Horgan said.

“For just as long, the stories told here have failed to accurately reflect our colonial history or include everyone, and priceless collections are now being put at risk in an aging building.”

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Click to play video: 'Royal BC Museum begins closing two exhibits as part of ‘decolonization’ process' Royal BC Museum begins closing two exhibits as part of ‘decolonization’ process
Royal BC Museum begins closing two exhibits as part of ‘decolonization’ process – Nov 3, 2021

BC Archives services will not be disrupted and will remain open at the downtown site until it moves to its new permanent home at the collections and research building in 2025.

Imax Victoria, the museum’s gift shop and the food trucks located at the museum will stay open through early 2023.

The province says the new museum will bring significant economic and social benefits to the region, supporting more than 1,950 direct construction jobs, as well as more than 1,050 associated jobs.

Click to play video: 'Scathing report of discrimination and racism at Royal BC Museum' Scathing report of discrimination and racism at Royal BC Museum
Scathing report of discrimination and racism at Royal BC Museum – Jun 30, 2021

The new modernized provincial museum is expected to open in 2030.

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The museum will incorporate mass timber construction to leverage B.C.͛s strengths in building innovation and support good jobs, Horgan said.

Click to play video: 'Departing Royal BC Museum curator calls  it a ‘wicked’ place' Departing Royal BC Museum curator calls it a ‘wicked’ place
Departing Royal BC Museum curator calls it a ‘wicked’ place – Feb 11, 2021

The new museum will also be one of the first government projects of this size that partners with local First Nations on the project team, participating in both project development and delivery, including design influence to reflect the Lekwungen peoples, and members of the Songhees Nation and Esquimalt Nation.

“The way in which we share and learn from the truths and lived experiences of our past is fundamental to how we build our future and strengthen the fabric of our communities,” Royal BC Museum CEO Alicia Dubois said.

“Museums have a unique responsibility to promote understanding, inspire growth and change, and give hope to future generations. The work to modernize the Royal BC Museum is a legacy project that will enrich, inspire and continue to benefit British Columbians and Indigenous Peoples for generations to come.”

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While the museum building is closed, the Royal BC Museum will extend its presence and engage with communities throughout British Columbia.

Provincewide travelling exhibitions, regional satellite displays and an interactive walking tour in Victoria will help make the museum accessible to all British Columbians.

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