The Royal BC Museum (RBCM) will be getting a new space to use for research and collection storage in Colwood.
The project’s nearly $205 million contract has been procured by Maple Reinders Constructors who will break ground on the project this coming summer. The total cost for the project is predicted to be nearly $270 million.
The new building will become home to the over seven million artifacts in storage. The nearly 164,000 square foot facility will allow for its collections to be stored and safeguarded to the standards of international best practices.
“Our government is committed to protecting our province’s history today and for future generations,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport.
“I am confident that this is the right step to take in securing our province’s invaluable history and ensuring more access for people. We look forward to working with Maple Reinders, the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations, and the City of Colwood on this historic new building.”
The building will be called the Collections and Research Building (CRB) and the intention behind it is a multi-use space for storage, research and education. Members of the public will be welcome to use it as a community space, according to Alicia Dubois, CEO of the RBCM.
“We hope to inspire future paleontologists, entomologists, botanists and historians through greater learning opportunities by enhancing public access to our work,” said Dubois.
As of now, less than 1% of the total collection the RBCM has amassed is available to members of the public.
Some of the artifacts in the museum’s vast collections that will benefit from the new facility’s protection will be archival books and manuscripts; rare and priceless artworks, including watercolours from the 1700s; several paintings by Emily Carr; and early provincial maps.
The RBCM’s collection holds countless items priceless to Indigenous Peoples and First Nations from here in Victoria and across BC.
According to the province, part of their agenda with the new facility is to make more meaningful connections with members of the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations, whose land it will come to reside upon.
“The Songhees Nation looks forward to partnering with the Royal BC Museum and the province in the development of the new collections and research building project on lək̓ʷəŋən Territory,” Chief Ron Sam, Songhees First Nation.
As one of the host Nations for this important public building, we look forward to providing guidance and direction in the design, workers and contractors for the construction.”
“This project will be a valuable resource for many generations to come, and highlights the need for collaboration while building respectful relationships between Indigenous communities and museums.”
The RBCM’s CRB is expected to break ground in summer 2023 with a public opening predicted for summer 2026.