Royal BC Museum Modernization

April 01, 2019 - August 31, 2019

The Royal BC Museum offers visitors a place to explore the social and environmental history of British Columbia and the world beyond this Province. It draws millions of visitors each year onsite and online. The Museum has been at its current location since 1967. Its collections of specimens, artifacts, and cultural objects have outgrown the available space, and the building no longer meets today’s accessibility or seismic standards.

On Feb. 12, 2019 the speech from the throne announced the Provincial Government’s intention to modernize the Royal BC Museum. The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and the Royal BC Museum are working to develop a business case to support the modernization project. As part of this process, the B.C. government partnered with the SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue to host a series of public engagement events to hear from the public about the future of the Royal BC Museum.

The Project

From April 1 to June 27, 2019, people across the Province had the opportunity to share ideas reflecting how they envision a modernized Museum. They discussed how it can most effectively tell stories of B.C.’s communities, and how it can most productively collaborate with communities throughout British Columbia. This engagement provided critical information to inform the process of Museum Modernization.

The Centre for Dialogue convened seven public meetings in five communities throughout the Province. A province-wide virtual public meeting was also held. This was the first virtual dialogue ever included in a Government of British Columbia public engagement. A total of 137 people participated in the public meetings.  The provincial engagement website hosted a discussion forum with three questions and provided the opportunity for people to email in their ideas. The engagement website received more than 5,000 visits and a total of 177 comments. 15 formal submissions and 7 individual emails were also received.

The thoughts shared by the communities and in the virtual meeting were analyzed and synthesized in a "What We Heard Report." This feedback will inform the business case that the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture and the Royal BC Museum are developing. The business case will address topics such as cost, location, program, timelines, and impact on stakeholders.

What We Heard Report

The following "What We Heard Reports" were independently prepared by SFU's Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue to provide an overview of participant input from the Royal BC Museum Modernization engagement that comprised of: seven in-person workshops, province-wide virtual meeting and online discussion forum.

These reports do not provide a representation of general public opinion on the future of the Royal BC Museum, nor that of a randomly selected population sample. Rather this report presents the personal views and ideas of individual workshop participants. These reports do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the SFU Centre for Dialogue or the provincial government. This feedback will inform the business case that the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture and the Royal BC Museum are developing. The business case will address topics such as cost, location, program, timelines, and impact on stakeholders. 

Partner Organizations

Select Links & Publications

'White, male, settler history': B.C.'s museum considers how to display past as it looks to future, CBC News (June 21, 2019)

Have your say on the future of the Royal BC Museum, CTV News Vancouver Island (March 22, 2019)

The Royal BC Museum’s makeover: Why its CEO is pressing for a new building, The Globe and Mail (August 16, 2019)

Public invited to share ideas on Royal BC Museum modernization, Government of British Columbia Press Release (June 3rd, 2019)

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