Question 1: What would you expect a modernized museum experience to be?



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51 responses to “Question 1: What would you expect a modernized museum experience to be?

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    [-] Lee

    Modern does not necessarily mean full of technology, being able to interact with real things is still a crucial role for any museum. Far to often when going through museums where technological tools are used to enhance the exhibit, the are broken, or are just places for people to push buttons.

    A note about archives, one thing that has happened around the world has been the privatization of public information. Today often your require a subscription to a service such as Ancestry. com to access things like census material, birth records, etc. I hope the BC government will keep material accessible. The RBCM needs to build on it traditions of traveling exhibits and working with museums around the province. They need to size (and price) their exhibits so that they can go into smaller centres. The BC government needs to beef up support for museums around the province.

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    [-] Jacqueline

    I expect that a modernized museum experience would include a modern way to search through data and digital collections. Part of the modernization process should be digitizing collections (data) that are only stored in hard copy. I also expect that a modernized museum includes supporting important research.

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    [-] Susan

    The Native Plant Collection at the Royal BC Museum is a unique, valuable and important living exhibit that was started 60 years ago. It includes rare and endangered plants important both from ethnobotanical and educational perspectives. With most communities placing increasing emphasis on native plants to conserve resources and adapt to climate change, The Royal BC Museum is well positioned to support the process by demonstrating how attractive, resilient and diverse native plant gardens can be.

    A well designed native plant garden extends the museum experience to the street for all users, allowing everyone to explore and admire the native species of British Columbia. With appropriate signage, visitors can be educated and informed of their importance to our indigenous peoples past and present use of these species. With thoughtful design, it would be a powerful complement and introduction to the exhibits inside, as well as providing an educational interface between the street and museum.

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    [-] william

    More digital archives. Only a fraction of the newspaper holdings are available online. As a keen amateur researcher that would be my #1 wish – Newspapers have the most info, but microfilm is soooo old school with today’s technology. As for the onsite museum, how about a foundation with some real cash to back it up so that we actually display valuable artifacts [currently they tend to wind up in private hands due to the failure of the museum to compete due to no funds or any endowments]. The museum currently depends on altruistic folks to donate, that is no way to move forward.

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    [-] John

    Maximizing use of technology. 3D printing of artifacts and virtual reality displays are 2 examples. 3D printing allows the most valuable to be seen / appreciated, even handled. The historic firearms (if you still have any) would be displayed without fear of theft AND the high cost of activation. Many museums are employing VR to take patrons into historic and future works. To see inside a TRex skull, to turn an artifact in all dimensions, even upside down. One can see inside caves, cathedrals, fly over Hell’s Gate, or the Black Tusk. This is IMAX on a personalized scale… the patron chooses from a menu. RBCM could enable a patron to wonder the halls of the Louvre! RBMC and all the musuems integrate their resources to CUT GHGs from air travel. Use VR to save our planet!!

    ERROR: racial identity cannot be optional below if just YES NO!! You need ‘choose not to say’ or blank

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    [-] Klimaszewski,

    This question is very broad and embraces all possible activities at Museum/s. It includes displays, movies about particular subject of science, oral presentations, research collections – their expansion and curatorial works, and scientific works. There is great potential to involve general public in some part of life of Museum. As naturalist, I will focus only on biological aspect of Museum/s. The general public is interested in natural world around them and particularly in BC, which is consider a hot spot of Canadian biodiversity. It would be interesting to put more museum’s energy into education and to involve interested people into real research, e.g. participation in biological surveys of iconic parks, city parks and ecologically distinctive habitats. I would teach interested people how to do real research and publish new discoveries. Adding flyers with recent research activities and discoveries in parks often visited by tourists would be interesting addition. Many things can be added to the museum’s activities but the province must provide the basic funding.

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    [-] Tom

    To start, the RBCM needs well documented, organized, and readily available collections. This is critical for curators and researchers to tell the story. Also, with well documented collections new discoveries and novel avenues of thought can take place. How we view human and natural history is constantly changing with new and different questions being asked. The collections provide the basic information and if there are gaps they need to be identified. There also needs to be collaboration with the public. In many subject areas there are tremendously knowledgeable people in the community and some of them hold impressive collections. Finally, the RBCM and its extensive collections play a critical and unique role in long-term research in B.C. and any attempt at modernization needs to keep that in mind.

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    [-] Tom

    A modern museum needs to provoke questions and provide interaction with visitors. At the same time it needs to be entertaining with a few unexpected and novel aspects.
    For example, the Museum of Archaeology in Montreal has incorporated a section of the original Montréal sewer with an amazing LED light show. Beyond entertainment, exhibits need additional online information. Few people can read all of the signage presented in a single visit but if something does create interest, the visitor has the option of going to the web to read more. Ideally that information should address the significance of the exhibit and not just facts.
    I still find a face to face interaction with staff or knowledgeable volunteers the best experience. It’s even better if it involves hands on experience. A year or so ago I visited the British Museum, staff had a tray of artifacts in the gallery and I was allowed to hold a 400,000 year old Palaeolithic hand-axe. That was an experience! As an additional comment, the many events such as Night Shift etc. are great and should continue but really only cater to a Victoria audience.

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    [-] Susan

    I think the museum should act as a collaborator and adviser to communities to allow them to tell their stories – the museum is a venue and the people that work there are ‘experts’ in storytelling, not in knowing the individual community’s stories. Each community will likely want to tell its story in its own way.

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    [-] Susan

    I would expect a modernized museum to offer a venue that is accessible to all (that is that it does not present barriers in terms of physical access and offers alternative ways to interact with the exhibits for those with visual disabilities for example) and that also allows the visitor to contribute to the experience for later visitors (i.e. give people the option to create videos or collages of images from their visit along with voice over – would be especially beneficial for visitors who speak other languages besides those that have brochures provided). I would expect there to be a variety of types of interactions available – everything from hold and touch for young visitors to audio guides for those that may be pre-reading age (or simply prefer to listen) to ‘traditional’ written displays to evolving dynamic info panels that visitors can update with findings from their own research online.

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    [-] L

    People can look at images from almost anywhere now on their screens.

    When I see people getting excited in museums I visit, it’s because they can touch and interact with exhibits — and the excitement of being next to things that have a strong physical presence one way or another.

    Some examples: many taxidermied animals, fossils, rocks, and bones that visitors can *touch* at Oxford University’s Natural History Museum (building on the exhibits already in the Natural History Gallery), the “Sur mesure, les 7 unités du monde” exhibit at the Paris Musée des Arts et Métiers where life-sized vertical video displays of scientists explain the exhibits, activities that let visitors learn about indigenous knowledge (like medicinal plant identification, traditional food preparation techniques, storytelling).

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    [-] Jacqueline

    For this there would need to be new displays, perhaps a whole new section dedicated to BC history and early settlement. Various ethnic groups as well as the indigenous population have made this a unique place. This could include the early settlers and their brilliant vision (such as building the Empress in a mud flat) for a beautiful city. It should include the early East Indian communities which controlled so much of the logging industry, the Chinese who brought their merchandising skills and worked building the railway and mining. Not all of it was good, the rounding up of Japanese citizens in WWII being one example. But we need to tell the bad with the good and how we learned from our mistakes to develop a better society.

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    [-] Jacqueline

    I love the museum and it’s many displays and feel it does a good job of telling visitors a lot about BC and its history. All cultures and nations which have come to BC and make it their home should be honoured as Europe honours the many diverse groups which have formed the various countries there. New technologies could make existing displays more interactive and and attractive to adults and children alike. My biggest disappointment with the museum is the entrance, which resembles an airport waiting lounge more than a museum. It needs a friendlier and more inviting approach to excite people about their visit. It would be wonderful to have a few displays scattered around to whet their appetites for what awaits them within. We lost the beautiful rain curtain and carved canoe many years ago which was a tragedy. Nothing since then has come close to the drama and beauty of that display. There also used to be a lovely little coffee shop where patrons could purchase a snack or a meal and sit down to enjoy them. I worked close to the museum and would often go there for lunch.

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    [-] Barbara

    Availability of personal audio guides (as in many museums and galleries in UK and Europe) would be a great step towards modernization.

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    [-] Robert

    1) How about some live material instead of just dead stuff? Example:s Regional plants, BC insects, mosses …
    2) Active research projects on display with audio/video summaries of why this work is being done.
    3) Active citizen science (and other , e.g.photo archives) projects on display.
    4) Special days like a miniature Antiques Road Show, bring in your fossils day, , identify your bugs day , music of the 1820s …

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    [-] Kris

    Immersed experiences but not relying on screens and technology. Replicating the space that artifacts would have been seen or used in. The old town experience does that now, please continue to create those spaces to fully experience eras and communities.
    Undestanding and learning experiences that reflect evidence-based practices and research that demonstrates what works and draws people to learn about the past, present, and possible future.

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    [-] Hume

    I would expect a modern Museum to reflect the history and curent state of British Columbia. I would expect it to provide a baseline of BC biodiversity as it is now. We need better coverage of our ecosystems with modern data capture. This will tell us how we are, and it will tell us how were and how we have changed in the coming decades. On a practical level knowing our biodiversity will help British Columbians prosper by recognizing and responding to new pests that will arrive with climate change.

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    [-] Jay

    Educational, focusing on the wonder of the natural and human worlds

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    [-] Yves

    1) Leave the visitor w a sense of accomplishment that the visit was worthwhile. I believe people go the the museum to learn about the world around them.
    2) Online presence that is has as much impact as visiting the museum in person.
    3) Content is organized in various levels of information to allow visitor to go as deeply as they want but still feel satisfied.
    4) Content touches all senses so the visitor feels the wonder that the museum is attempting to pass on.
    5) Physically the museum should be open concept getting away from stuffy rooms. Lots of light and few walls.
    This is exciting and hope you get a museum that is cutting edge.

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    [-] Rhiannon

    I would expect that the pedagogical direction and od collection-based exhibits and educational supports/programming to be inclusive and critical. I would expect there to be no use of naturalized gendered and/or patriarchal language and constructs (i.e. mankind, history of man, etc etc) without addressing them as such as part of the breakdown. I would expect to see the Museum authentically pursue the de-colonization of the collection and institution in partnership with local nations and elders. I would expect a modernized museum experience to challenge worldviews. I would expect programming to embrace and engage global events as a way to make sense of history and present the collection and knowledge in a relevant light. I believe that rigorous, risk-taking programming must underpin and precede any investment in interactive technologies and exhibit design, which when used, optimize and extend the reach of that original mission in demonstrably useful ways.

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    [-] Paul

    A museum should have a transformative effect on its users, both reflective of the past and a vision to the future. A modern museum should excite its users, inspire curiosity and entice users to ask questions and explore. It should not be a monument to the past, but a vehicle that allows us to see linear across time, past, present and future.
    I would want to see a modern building, that invites you in, where you are excited to see around the next corner, visually stunning, not a dark dusty building that speaks of the past.

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    [-] Kasey

    I would hope that a modernized museum would better serve the various types of visitors, from tourists to school groups to researchers and so on. School groups need better orientation and programming spaces and should only be in the galleries with staff or volunteer escorts to ensure that they are not compromising the enjoyment of others. Researchers and Indigenous visitors should have comfortable and safe places to work with the collections and staff. The site is perfect for the Royal BC Museum’s visitors, but the responsibility to preserve the provincial collections could probably be fulfilled elsewhere.

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    [-] Nancy

    A modernized museum experience means walking through exhibits which combine display of historic objects (or their representation), informative/illuminating text messages which pay great attention to legibility, and some interactive experience.
    To encourage repeat visits and greater familiarity with the museum, exhibits should change frequently or else there should be quite a large number of exhibits to choose from.

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    [-] Amy

    I always appreciate the interactive displays and an approach that makes the exhibit accessible for my young children. I visited the Museum for the first time last year, and really enjoyed the immersive displays you walk through, and agree that these could be updated. The best modern children’s experience I have encountered is the Children’s Museum within the Museum of Civilization in Hull. Having a smaller scale version of that, with a focus on BC content would be invaluable. We would go to the museum every time we came to Victoria with the kids if it had an opportunity to learn through play like that museum. I expect a modern museum to host challenging temporary exhibits, that make you think.

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    [-] Eileen

    A modernized museum experience would incorporate learning through exhibits and through programs that let visitors interact even more with the learning experience. Something I love about our museum is walking through the exhibits. Captain Vancouver’s ship has always been a favourite but I could imagine myself there. The incorporation of sounds and smells would make it even more of an “experience”. I love the old town for the same reason and some of my best experiences at other museums, forts and old towns has been the interaction between myself and “citizens”. Barkerville has a great program of street shows and walks that help someone learn more about what they are seeing without having to read displays. I think a combination would work really well for the museum.

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    [-] Sara

    Very visual and interactive, including new technologies but also tactile when possible. Accessible to all ages and abilities.

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    [-] Suset

    to have more interactive learning opportunities for patrons, to include more detailed local/regional history and to host residents or elders to share those experiences and stories in a more interactive way

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    [-] Carmen

    1) Inspiring architecture
    2) Creative exhibits that have been expertly curated
    3) People from all ages, backgrounds and communities are drawn in (vibrant diverse space that creates feedback-loop in building a sense of community/place/pride/respect).
    4) Displays contain opportunity for deeper knowledge seeking (ie, lengthier stories/write ups on displays for more curious minds
    5) Regularly changing feature exhibits, which can also be leveraged as a focal point for smartly planned events/experiences.
    6) Creative/inspiring flex spaces for regularly planned adult-oriented workshops, presentations, talks by artists, researchers, experts, featured community members, etc and for daytime children’s programming.
    7) More spaces with comfortable seating within the museum to sit and take in the displays, contemplate/interpret, or to enjoy modern digital media projected.

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    [-] D.

    Good funding for collections, such as the entomology collection, for digitization efforts and data sharing.

    n the case of plant, animal, and fungal collections, this would allow scientists from across BC (and elsewhere) to conduct interesting new studies on BC’s biota. It would also provide teaching opportunities at universities and colleges as students could use real, relevant data.

    I know that this type of work takes time, effort, and funding. I also know that you have great scientific personnel and volunteers there who are doing fantastic work already in this regard. Please keep that up and expand it as well!

    Thanks for this opportunity to respond, and all the best.

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    [-] Carl

    The best stories are the ones you remember long after being initially exposed to them. The stories we remember the most / longest are the ones that touch us emotionally as well as cerebrally. That is achieved by making the stories realevent and relatable to the audience being exposed to those stories.

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    [-] Carl

    Any world class, modern public facility needs to incorporate state of the art multimedia. Projection, tactile interactive and audio technologies to create the most memorable and exciting experiences. RBCM wows it’s guests now with its, all be it dated, immersive static exhibits. Incorporating the technologies mentioned would improve guest engagement, experience and memories exponentially.

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    [-] Rj

    an interactive, immersive one, that leverages technology tastefully, with respect, and as appropriate

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    [-] Dave

    thought provoking. Leave the observer wanting more and asking questions. Bring history alive and relevant to present day society. How do we learn from history and why does it matter to me?

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    [-] Dave

    Bring the museum to the people. Travelling road shows with interactive activities that involve both children and adults. Many people on the island cannot travel to Victoria for various reasons and could benefit from history being brought to them. The benefit could be twofold, museum staff could grow in their role by experiencing how other communities perceive history (and changing their approach accordingly) and the community could benefit by having access to their history (and in the case of indigenous communities perhaps adding to or correcting historical accounts) –

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    [-] Aubrey

    A virtual/augmented reality, or 4D environment for those types of exhibitions would be really cool. A great way to use technology in an immersive way.

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    [-] Katharine

    Interactive, informative, diverse, includes everyone’s stories in a culturally respectful way, hosts interesting temporary exhibits from around the world, is accessible by everyone, offers programs for children and adults, provides volunteer opportunities, is an attraction for both tourists and locals.

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    [-] Krista

    How about an interactive display where kids can use various props and tools supplied by the museum, to put together their very own diorama (tell a story in their own way)….so they get to actually be inside the display and put something together that the public will see. Perhaps they prepare some of the written material as part of their classroom curriculum and then come to the museum to physically put it together with the help of museum staff. This way they learn by doing and interacting with the information. If the information is on display for a determined amount of time, then it may also encourage friends and family to come by and see the work they completed as a team, and also how they interpreted the information.

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    [-] Tyler

    Dynamic exhibits, later operating hours, and more food.
    Many of the static exhibits haven’t changed in decades, and it shows. Having only one – and sometimes two – travelling/temporary exhibits for a few months doesn’t draw attention from the surrounding community since they will have seen everything in one visit and have no need to return until the next exhibit is brought in months down the line.
    Later operating hours are important because many people can’t accommodate the existing time-frame to visit. This is particularly important for youth as many children and teens may be looking for a place to go after school/work, but the museum is almost never an option because it’s so restricted in terms of hours of operation. It currently seems more like it operates as a daycare/tourist attraction and has very little effort to pull in other demographics.
    Finally, more food is important. Before moving to this city, I don’t think I’ve been to a single publicly funded museum across Canada that doesn’t have a full food court. If you want patrons to visit, stay, and spend money, give them a good supply of food INSIDE the building. The food trucks are amazing but force people outside and the current indoor food supply is scarce at best. There is an entire area that could be converted to allow at least two food services indoors and I feel that it would be highly beneficial.

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    [-] Krista

    It would be nice to have the Museum collaborate with the local school districts on how to make field trips for kids more exciting and memorable. When I was a kid, some of my first experiences with the Museum were with our elementary School. We were so excited to go – but as we got off the school bus, our teacher would hand us a worksheet that needed to be completed by the time we returned. It resulted in us having to frantically find the answers in the time we had, which meant we never had the time to enjoy the museum for what it really is. 40 years later…I had hoped this approach had changed. But alas, NO, my own son says the exact same thing about his experience of going on a field trip to the museum – a boring worksheet and a time constraint in which to fill it out. We want a kids experience of the museum to be so mind-blowing awesome, that they want to come again and again….not run for the hills. Therefore, perhaps provide the tools & information to the schools before they bring their classes, which will help ensure their kids have the best possible experience.

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    [-] Elizabeth

    I would like to see a lot of hands-on exhibits.

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    [-] Jess

    I would love to see more interactive and hands on exhibits. It’s been a frustrating experience for my children who would love to be able to explore the exhibits, but are not allowed to touch. They LOVE the First Peoples Exhibit and the old town, but making it more interactive would be great. It is missing permanent exhibits that you can explore and interact with.

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    [-] Paul

    A modern museum experience would be one where I can actually experience the museum. Once, a long time ago, there was no charge to go to the museum. When I was young I would spend many Saturdays at the museum (when it was located in the basement of the Parliament Buildings and then in the current site). Since an entrance fee was established, I have not been to the museum. There are just too many demands on my pay cheque. I don’t even go to the movies. I think the museum should be free for citizens and tax payers of the province. An entrance fee can be charged for anyone else.

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    [-] Richelle

    Have British Columbians tell the story and then have the museum holds that support the story. The strength of some of the newer exhibits is the introduction of oral histories. Not only is this more engaging but it’s also the context missing the most in the building at large. Not everyone reads to learn – they listen and learn through story. Storytelling is missing from the museum.

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    [-] Richelle

    An example of where I think RBCM should lead to – the Indigenous languages exhibit. In comparison to the others parts of the museum: it has more entry points to the subject; it has materials that individuals of various literacies can engage with; it’s interactive; and it has more context for each object. I understand that the museum has one-of-a-kind holding that are important nationally and internationally but there isn’t enough information to show why.

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    [-] TomO

    I think to answer this question you can go to TripAdvisor, select museums in the same category as the RBCM and read the reviews of what people like and don’t like. Then try to incorporate as many of the likes when you do your modernization which should not only get you good reviews in the future to attract more visitors but the TripAdvisor reviews should also help identify expectation of museum visitors.

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    [-] Valentina

    Affordability. Going to museum is an expensive way to stay inside

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    [-] Andrea

    Floor to the ceiling exhibition design! What would the exhibit be like if you were under 3 feet tall? How would you engage with the content if you are a child who can’t read yet? I have seen some great examples of this in your recent exhibits. Notably the Bonds of Belonging exhibit. There was much thought and consideration put into the way children would experience the content. My daughter was 4-years-old at the time and still talks about it whenever we go to the Museum. She’s a lifelong convert now. Will always want to come back and support museums because of those kinds of experiences. Every exhibit should have that level of immersion for children. ( For some reason, whenever we are in the First Peoples exhibit she wants to play and run around the Totem poles. It brings out a sense of play in her and I’d love to be able to encourage that, but I’m always a bit uncertain as to whether or not it is appropriate. How do children engage around these kinds of objects? Can that be built into the exhibit?) Children are the ones who pull their parents through the doors. And then will come back to bring their own children one day. For adults, I love what you’re doing with your It’s Complicated series. I’ve had some very meaningful discussions and experiences attending these. I enjoy wandering through your exhibits, but I really love having opportunities to talk with a diverse group of people about issues; whether social or scientific. So I think that you are already moving in the right direction in terms of modernization. Keep fueling that.

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    [-] Jean

    More interactive and hands on opportunities for learning for families and children. It would be great to see more scientific exhibits and learning opportunities, as there is nothing in the Victoria area like Science World in Vancouver, and that is a huge gap for kids and families that live here. I think the Royal BC Museum does a great job of history, but there is not much that is current or futuristic.
    I would also love to see better online ticketing and seat selection options for all IMAX shows, without the added fees for booking online (which seems very odd as most places encourage people to book online, not make it more expensive for them)

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    [-] Jason

    I expect an experience that reflects modern cultural awareness, but does not lose the immersive experiences that drew me and my children back to the museum time and again. Allow visitors to get lost in exploration as they currently can, for instance pouring over the toys/games exhibit, or talking to each other across the echo chamber in the natural history exhibit. As a technologist, nothing would disappoint me more than a reimagination that equates modernization with the introduction of gratuitous technology. Remain human-centric.

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    [-] Jesse

    Have universal online access to archives and exhibits, with a virtual tour for those outside of the lower mainland.

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    [-] Anna

    I would absolutely love to see way more programs for children with hands on learning about history and science. So in other words, there would need to be improved facilities for that. Also, please please -allow us to book our actual seat numbers online for the IMAX for all shows, not just some. It is so difficult for those with disabilities with young children to have to wait an hour in line just so as to get a decent seat, Going to the wonderful film about the Great Bear Forest with a seven year old grandchild reminded me as to why it is I don’t go very often to the IMAX . The wait was a really difficult. When we lived in Nova Scotia the Maritime Museum had wonderful programs all year round for children – learning to build model ships; making a 18th century Christmas decoration for a wooden ship – all sorts of things and affordable also. And they were open to everyone not just school groups, I am sure the Museum could manage that with some thoughtfulness,