Royal B.C. Museum to be rebuilt at the cost of $789M

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Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria is set to close in September 2022 and reopen as a new state-of-the-art facility on the same site in 2030. (Mike McArthur/CBC - image credit)
Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria is set to close in September 2022 and reopen as a new state-of-the-art facility on the same site in 2030. (Mike McArthur/CBC - image credit)

The Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria is getting a $789-million rebuild that will take over seven years to complete.

The provincial landmark is set to close in September of this year, with the new facility scheduled to open its doors at the same location in 2030.

"I know the importance of the seven million artifacts that are here... and they need to be housed more appropriately than they have for the past number of decades," said Premier John Horgan.

The 54-year-old building that houses the current museum is seismically unsound, filled with asbestos and lacking the ability to safely preserve most of its collections with current best practices.

The museum opened in 1968 at the current site and has been working to modernize after being criticized for exhibits that primarily reflected white, male settler history.

"We are taking the diverse stories of British Columbians and Indigenous peoples out of the shadows and into the light," said Tourism Minister Melanie Mark.

Officials say the new museum will feature mass timber construction, be fully accessible and more reflective of all citizens of the province and its Indigenous and colonial history.

During the closure, the Royal B.C. Museum will focus on travelling and pop-up exhibits.

The $789 million will also fund construction of a new building for collections and research in Colwood, a city southwest of Victoria on Vancouver Island.

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