Royal BC Museum CEO Professor Jack Lohman (pictured centre with Joanne Orr, Deputy CEO (left) and Robert Earl, City of Colwood CAO) shared his exciting vision for the new Research & Collections Building that will be constructed in Royal Bay, at an introductory meeting between City and Museum teams this week.
Colwood's ancient seaside landscape
The RBCM team brought with them the massive mammoth tooth that was unearthed in Royal Bay some 50 years ago. The mammoth tooth is thought to be over 18,000 years old and Professor Lohman explained it was a significant discovery that informed the museum's knowledge of the creatures and how glacial lakes would have torn down through the landscape, taking the mammoths with them.
The mammoth tooth is one of many artifacts in the museum's vast collection that tells the history of Colwood. Professor Lohman talked about the importance of linking the museum's collection of over 7,000,000 archival treasures to Colwood's ancient seaside landscape.
It's a landscape with a significant geological and archeological history as a post-glacial delta. Then for thousands of years the land and sea were stewarded by the Indigenous people who lived, gathered, fished, hunted, celebrated and raised their families in the area. When early explorers navigated the waters of Royal Bay they created a cartology of the area which the museum now holds. It's a landscape Emily Carr spent several summers sketching and painting, and whose renowned works are part of RBCM collections.
Professor Lohman's vision for the Research & Collections building is to weave all of these elements and more together to create a unique and beautiful learning and conservation experience that will be the first of its kind.
Behind the scenes learning
Imagine the amazing work that happens behind the scenes in a museum, where conservationists determine the age of artifacts through carbon dating, research the history so they can be authentically restored and prepared for display, and articulate each artifacts' story with meaningful context in an engaging way to immerse people in the significance of our past.
The collections area of a museum is generally off limits to the public, but it's incredibly interesting and valuable to be able to see the research and conservation that happens there.
Professor Lohman envisions this research and collections building to be at least fifty percent accessible to the public, which will create one-of-a-kind learning opportunities. It is envisioned as the premier training facility for conservationists and it will take full advantage of content generation technology so that, for example, artifacts like the mammoth tooth could be 3D printed and shared with schools for a hands-on learning experience.
A showcase for mass timber construction and energy efficiency
The Royal BC Museum Research and Collections building will sit just above the ocean shoreline in Colwood's Royal Bay neighbourhood, surrounded by public park space and with the forests of Latoria Creek Park as the backdrop.
Professor Lohman spoke about relocating the Museum's Native Species Garden to the area, bringing beauty, authenticity, serenity and enhanced learning and volunteer opportunities about First Nations history and native plants.
It is the perfect place to showcase the strength and beauty of mass timber construction and the use of leading edge practices for energy efficiency and archival conservation technology.
Creating space for history
City staff will work collaboratively with the Royal BC Museum project team and the development team at GableCraft Homes to ensure a smooth process, with the goal of opening the doors to our history by 2023.
Sandra Russell, Communications Manager