The Future of the Royal BC Museum

Engagement summary

The Royal BC Museum was founded in 1886. Updating our aging facilities and infrastructure is a critical part of modernizing the museum and archives, but so too is rethinking our methods. Modernizing the museum requires fiscal responsibility, creativity, and the perspectives of all British Columbians.

The Royal BC Museum is committed to a multi-year, province-wide engagement plan to listen to the people of B.C. and gather feedback on the museum’s future.

Phase 1: Dialogue with British Columbians

Phase 1 will begin with information and dialogue sessions (both in-person and virtual), which will inform the public of the surveys and long-term engagement plans. Feedback from these sessions will inform the museum’s engagement strategy.

Information and dialogue sessions are being held across B.C. to both inform and spark conversation within communities. These sessions will begin in January 2023 and will continue into Spring.

While the museum will host in-person sessions, there will also be regional sessions where individuals, Indigenous communities, multi-cultural communities, and all other partners will be invited to engage with museum staff. Virtual sessions will also be available.

In addition, an online survey will be available to the public. Its intent will be to connect with British Columbians and understand how they’d like to be engaged and how the museum can create dialogue spaces that foster safe, thoughtful, and honest communication.

Phase 2: Deeper engagement through consultation

Phase 2 involved deeper engagement work throughout the province, progressing through stages of consultation and collaboration with the public.

Feedback from Phase 1 will be analyzed to inform the Phase 2 engagement strategy.

The museum will conclude with a report to the Board and Province. This report will be publicly available. Following feedback and approvals, the museum will either enter Phase 3 (continued engagement) or begin preparing an action plan that advances a revised, public-informed concept of a modern museum.

Information about opportunities to engage through dialogue sessions can be found here:

The journey so far

1968The Royal BC Museum building complex opens.
1970sPermanent galleries are completed with building methods and materials that are no longer used today.
1980s onwardsAging infrastructure issues are identified. Remediation work takes place where possible.
2018Seismic reports show long-term risks and the need for extensive infrastructure upgrades.
2019Speech from the Throne: BC government pledges to act to modernize the Museum. A public engagement process is launched.
February 2020The BC Government announce plans to build a new purpose-built Collections and Research Building in Colwood, BC.
June 2021An investigation into the internal workings of the museum resulted in a report to British Columbians to acknowledge that since the Museum was founded in 1886, the organization has inadequately showcased the whole story of the peoples of BC.

The Museum pledges to embed equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility goals, protocols, and reporting into all areas of the organization. As well, to replace outdated core galleries with new exhibits that include the voices and history of all the peoples in BC.
2021Procurement for a design builder for the Collections and Research Building
January 2022Third floor closed for packing and remediation work, as plans begin to update galleries to be fully inclusive and representative of all British Columbians
May 2022Redevelopment plans for the Museum's downtown site announced.
June 2022Redevelopment plans for the Museum's downtown site stopped. The Province tasks the Royal BC Museum with province-wide community engagement on the project.
January 2023Community engagement begins.

How to participate

We are asking everyone across B.C. to participate in the public engagement throughout both phases. A special effort will be made to have conversations with and collect feedback from:

  • Municipalities across the province
  • First Nations, Urban Indigenous, Métis, and Inuit peoples
  • Culturally-based groups
  • GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives, and museum) partners
  • Business partners and Chambers of Commerce
  • Post-secondary institutions and school districts
  • Special interest groups such as mental health associations
  • People who identify as LGBTQ2S++
  • Youth
  • People with accessibility needs

Information on community events and how to sign up for them can be found here:

Details of the Engagement

Category: Government

Status: Open

Location: Province-wide