(Royal BC Museum)

This week, the Royal BC Museum is set to introduce a community gallery focused on offering the public an accessible way to express their thoughts on the world around them.

The idea behind the gallery originally came to be after the RBCM felt a growing call to action amidst the COVID-19 pandemic to document the experiences of those impacted. 

Chris O’Connor, the Learning and Program Developer for the RBCM told Victoria Buzz that the outpouring of photos, videos and written responses surprised them in 2020.

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“We got a lot of responses, way more than we expected. It was really dynamic. One of the thoughts that we had as it was happening. We didn’t have any kind of platform to support sharing that.”

That initial idea sparked something greater: a platform designed to share contemporary issues. 

“It was out of that we were not just thinking about the pandemic experiences but with other contemporary issues that come up, we might need to be a little more fluid and flexible for people to share their thoughts and their perspectives,” says O’Connor.

Now more than two years later, the online exhibition, also known as Home The Community Gallery is launching Tuesday, January 17th as a way to encourage the public to share their thoughts and experiences about the world around them.

Designed as a creative space dedicated to co-creation with communities throughout BC, this gallery will feature five exhibits including:

Climate Hope:

Working with the climate disaster projects from the University of Victoria, students have helped co-create the exhibit with the RBCM.

“It’s about the effect of climate change on individuals, not just on a large scale but rather on a smaller scale. The hope piece of that through shared stories we all realize that we are a part of this together,” says O’Connor. 

I Am Here:

I Am Here is an exhibit led by indigenous youth, offering different perspectives about the experiences and challenges urban indigenous youth go through. 

Finding Nature in the City:

This exhibition is more youth-oriented and it’s about how children see nature in the city. Through photos, poetry and artwork local youth share their perspectives on what nature they’re exposed to throughout the city of Victoria.

RBCM Through the Ages:

This exhibit will feature,“different images and reflections on the actual museum and different times throughout the history of the museum,” says O’Connor.

Pandemic Reflections:

What originally started the RBCM’s pursuit of an online gallery has now received its own exhibit.

Through reflections shared with the museum back in 2020, this gallery has now organized these moments into a reflective capsule, depicting the events, experiences and challenges BC residents documented throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Offering the community an opportunity to express their creative take, O’Connor tells Victoria Buzz that the ongoing project represents real steps towards breaking down the stigma of logistical hurdles physical exhibitions often are challenged with. 

“Within the larger project of deemphasizing the authority of museum voices,” O’Connor says this new project, “can be more flexible and responsive to community needs in a more direct way. 

For those interested in viewing the gallery, each of the five exhibits can be found on the RBCM’s website tomorrow starting at 12 p.m.

The Community Gallery

  • Where: The Royal BC Museum, 675 Belleville Street
  • When: Tuesday, January 17th, 12 p.m.

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