Royal B.C. Museum refreshing its brand, looks to future

The Royal B.C. Museum is renewing its brand to show in-person and virtual visitors how it is evolving and looking to the future.

“This rebranding [is] as a way to show how much we have changed over the last 18 to 20 years,” said Erika Stenson, the museum’s head of marketing, sales and business development who is also overseeing the rebranding process.

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“We are a contemporary experience filled with learning,” Stenson said. “We want our brand to reflect that we are a place for everybody. A big trend in museums is making sure that multiple voices are coming in.”

The museum has issued a request for proposals, closing Dec. 14, to rebrand the 132-year-old institution located next to the legislature since 1967. The facility also houses the B.C. Archives.

Think of the museum’s logo and you will likely recall two figures surrounding to a tree. The museum’s current brand and logo were introduced in 2003.

“The Royal B.C. Museum is no longer just an entertainment destination; it is a service-model museum,” the request for proposals says. This means taking the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations about First Nations into account, supporting stories from all members of the community and increasing access to collections, it says.

The museum “needs to refine its brand and move forward into the 21st century as a leader in Canada and the world,” the document says.

Stenson said the museum is undertaking the process “because we feel that we would like to have a brand that represents the museum of the future.”

The museum will take a measured approach and will listen to multiple voices, she said.

Museums today do much more than offer static displays that can be seen only by an in-person visit. In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, a total of 730,000 visitors came through the museum’s door.

But that same year resulted in a total of 8.5 million page views on its website, its annual report said. Its learning portal accounted for another 1.7 million.

The museum is increasing its outreach, Stenson said. For example, it sends learning kits all over the province. They are passed from school to school, from community to community, she said.

Its online learning portal allows teachers to create classroom activities and curriculum. Classrooms are welcome at the museum or teachers can arrange digital fields trips for students living further afield.

Travelling exhibits around the province are also staged.

“We are looking at ways that we can share beyond our walls and being sort of bigger than just the buildings downtown,” Stenson said. Once rolled out, “the brand should flow through everything that we do.”

“It should be part of the customer experience when they come here. It should be how they experience us online and though all our digital assets, it will be part of our learning and outreach kits — there would be that thread.”

Staff and volunteers will be trained on what it means to be part of the new re-positioned brand, Stenson said.

As B.C.’s museum “we want to make sure that the province feels represented,” she said.

“But we are also an important museum nationally and internationally. So we want to make sure that when people in other countries or across Canada see the Royal B.C. Museum, they get a sense of what we represent as well.”

The museum collaborates with other institutions. For example, an exhibition of Mayan artifacts is set to arrive at the museum in May, Stenson said. “It’ll be the first time that a number of these artifacts will have ever left Guatemala.”

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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