New Royal BC Museum exhibition takes a walk on the wild side

by Lexa Pennington /
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Jun 26, 2010 / 0 comments

VICTORIA, BC – The Royal BC Museum (RBCM) reveals all things natural in an exhibition opening tomorrow.


Royal BC Museum: Behind the Scenes is a multi-year project that includes an original exhibition, special events program, interactive website and tours to the museum collections areas. Designed to give visitors an insider’s look at the museum’s 124-year-history of scientific research, part one of Behind the Scenes runs June 25, 2010 to fall 2011 and showcases the work of the natural history department.


“Since 1886, the Royal BC Museum has been collecting specimens relating to BC’s natural history,” said RBCM CEO Pauline Rafferty at this morning’s preview event. “The specimens you see in our galleries are a small fraction of what’s actually in our collections. The goal of this exhibition is to show visitors a side of their museum they’ve probably never seen before, and give a sense of how exciting – and varied – this province’s biodiversity really is.”


The 929-square-metre (10,000-square-foot) exhibition features thousands of natural history specimens, ranging from preserved sea cucumbers, clawed frogs and pythons, to a 225-million-year-old fossilized Saurichthys (reptile fish).


A number of local and provincial dignitaries attended this morning’s preview, including one young museum-enthusiast who was deemed honorary curator for the day.


“I’ve visited the museum since I was four – it’s a cool place,” said eight-year-old Jack. And about Behind the Scenes? “Since I’m a kid, I think other kids will like it.”


Jack named the AmusEum as a highlight of the show. In this hand’s on activity space, explorers 10 and younger can go wild in three activity tents packed with biodiversity-themed games. Kids can break out their stripes by dressing up like a skunk, channel their inner marine biologist by trekking through a kelp-garden or perform scientific research by studying a bug’s innards through a microscope. 


To conclude the morning event, Jack took Rafferty, RBCM Board Chair Donald Hayes and Minister of Tourism, Culture and Arts Kevin Krueger on a tour through his favourite parts of Behind the Scenes.


“The Royal BC Museum: Behind the Scenes exhibit is a fascinating portrait of 124 years of collecting BC’s natural history,” said Krueger. “The exhibit’s interactive displays appeal to people of all ages, and are ideal for capturing the attention of young minds as they encourage learning in a setting that is both engaging and informative.”


As an approved 2010 UNESCO International Year of Biodiversity project, Behind the Scenes features an extensive special events program that includes summer camps for kids, adult and family workshops and discussion events. During the summer, tours to the (real) RBCM collections areas and labs will occur on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. (space is limited).


To visit the online Behind the Scenes interactive exhibition, visit


This exhibition is made possible through the generous support of BC Hydro. For more information on the latest activities, events and exhibitions at the Royal BC Museum, visit