Having majored in Canadian history, visiting museums anywhere is always on my radar. The Royal BC Museum is the biggest one that I can remember ever visiting and is one of my favourites. It is one of my favourites because they have part of the museum that brings in different exhibits so there is always the opportunity to learn new things.
Over the years the museum has worked hard on improving its exhibits and working on including native cultures. The Royal BC Museum is on the traditional territories of the the Lekqungen (Songhees and Xwsepsum Nations).
The second floor of the museum is the Natural History exhibits and consist of the Feature Exhibition and the Natural History Gallery. The featured exhibition right now is Orcas.
Orcas has to do with the world’s orcas and even detailed Pod J and the different members by name and in a family tree. There were scale models as well and being up close to them you realize how massive orcas actually are. Their size is dependent on gender and their migration patterns as that dictates where they live and their food sources.
The Natural History Gallery shows the different and diverse landscape of BC and the wildlife that inhabit it. There are 6 main sections that can be explored:
- A Changing Past
- A Changing Present
- Unique Forests
- Endless Seas
- Diverse Deltas
- Unexplored Worlds
On the third floor are the Human History exhibits: First Peoples Gallery and Becoming BC Gallery. They both have varying levels and hallways so make sure you take your time so that you don’t miss anything.
The First People’s Gallery shows a time line that outlines before and after settlers arrived in British Columbia and how they impacted those already living here. There are 6 main sections that can be explored:
- A Long History
- Living in This Land
- Spiritual Life
- Change, Conflict, Resilience
- A Powerful Heritage
- A New Beginning
The intricateness of native art is amazing. The totem poles on display are beautiful and it is great that the plaques recognize where they came from, who they belonged to, and what they represent. It is unfortunate some of them have been displaced in pieces as they are to tall to stand at their true height due to the roof. They are also in the process of restoring a totem pole as well at the moment.
In the living languages exhibition there are recordings of native speakers from the different bands in BC. The goal is to help preserve these languages before they disappear as fewer young people are fluent with the whole language that elders are versed in. It is amazing to hear languages that you don’t typically hear in your day to day.
The Becoming BC Gallery shows how Europeans came to British Columbia and how they explored and settled the land. There are 5 main sections that can be explored:
- Arrivals by Sea
- Arrivals by Land
- A Landscape Reshaped
- Building a Province
- Into the 21st Century
The Becoming BC British Columbia From the 1770’s is one area of the museum that I love to go to because it has to do with where I grew up and a lot of what I learned about in school. The cannery and fishing area is always a great look having grown up along the Fraser River and it’s many canneries. They have changed the displays over the years from showing the Gulf of Georgia Cannery to the current diorama of the Britannia Cannery.
The third floor of the Royal BC Museum will be undergoing renovations starting in January so if you would like to see the exhibits before they are changed you should do so soon.
Adult (19+): $26.95
Senior (65+): $18.95
Youth (6-18): $16.95
Student (19+ w/ID): $18.95
Child (3-5): Free
Open 7 days a week from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
675 Belleville Street
Victoria, BC V8W 9W2
Royal BC Museum