The Royal BC Museum itself will remain as-is for a while longer until the province can figure out the most cost-effective way to renovate or rebuild the current building following 2021’s controversy.
In the meantime, a new collections and research building (CRB) is to be built in the West Shore as a satellite site for museum employees to do their work out of.
The province says that some of the items in storage at the main Royal BC Museum site are at risk from flooding. This includes archival books and manuscripts, rare and priceless artworks such as watercolours from the 1700s, several paintings by Emily Carr and early provincial maps.
On Wednesday, September 13th, BC announced that ground has been broken on the new building’s site this week.
Prior to construction beginning, Shaker Faith workers led a ceremonial land blessing for the site and workers.
“It’s an important day as we move forward on a new collections and archives building that will properly store and safeguard our province’s shared history, priceless artifacts and archives,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport.
“I was honoured to witness the Shaker Faith workers bless and prepare the land of the CRB prior to construction. I look forward to working with the Royal BC Museum, Maple Reinders, the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations, and the City of Colwood on this important new building.”
The CRB is to be 15,000 square metres and will primarily be used to safely house the province’s collections and BC Archives.
BC says it will improve access to the public as currently, only 1% of the Royal BC Museum’s collection is on display.
Additionally, it will provide employees with dedicated research labs and the public with learning spaces.
“The provincial collections and archives help us to share the stories of our cultures and communities. It’s vital to ensure they’re kept safe for future generations,” said Tracey Drake, acting CEO, Royal BC Museum.
“This exceptional facility will also provide a window into the world of the museum, enabling visitors to see our paleontologists, entomologists, botanists, zoologists and more, engaged in active research projects.”
The Royal BC Museum will be built in the City of Colwood’s Royal Bay area.
The building will cost approximately $270 million to complete and is expected to be finished by 2025.
A public opening is expected to occur sometime in 2026.