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Royal BC Museum: Looking ahead to reopening galleries, reimagining spaces and reconnecting with community

Royal BC Museum CEO Tracey Drake provides an update about the latest museum initiatives
The Royal BC Museum seeks input from British Columbians to shape the future of the museum and archives. Photo via Royal BC Museum

Leading an outstanding museum team is an honour that I value highly.  

I also value the trust—which must be earned—of community members and our many partners, who look to the Royal BC Museum as a steward of our living cultures and collective history.  Over the past many months, we have reached significant milestones in building and, in many cases, rebuilding. This has helped us ensure we fulfill our provincial mandate to preserve and share the natural and human history of British Columbia through our collections, research, exhibitions and educational programs, as well as management of the provincial archives.

I would like to highlight some recent meaningful moments. 

Reopening the First Peoples Gallery

The opportunity to co-create and collaborate on a shared vision for how the museum represents Indigenous culture with communities from across the province has been very powerful.  

It was our privilege to reopen Jonathan Hunt House this month. This ceremonial house and museum installation invites visitors to enter a recreation of the house of Chief Kwakwabalasami, the late Jonathan Hunt, a Kwakwaka’wakw chief.

I would like to thank the newly formed, first of its kind First Peoples Gallery Planning Committee as we continue to work alongside each other on all aspects of this important work.

Through the refresh and reopening of Our Living Languages exhibit we have increased to 36 Indigenous languages now represented. Co-created with the First Peoples’ Cultural Council, this exhibit provides visitors with the opportunity to learn about the beauty and complexity of Indigenous languages in BC, and the people and communities who are working tirelessly to document and revitalize them.  British Columbia is one of the planet’s most linguistically diverse regions. More than 50% of Canada’s Indigenous languages are located in B.C.

I urge you to come and experience this exhibit and learn about the incredible work that is being done to revive ‘sleeper’ languages which would be lost to us otherwise.

Tracey Drake, CEO of the Royal BC Museum. Photo via Royal BC Museum

Reconnecting with community

I have made a commitment to create an environment with greater transparency – internally with museum staff, externally with essential partners and across the province with the great people of B.C. I will continue to provide updates on how we are reassessing and reimagining our museum spaces at the downtown campus, as well as our preparations for the move of the archives, collections, and research to the PARC Campus in Colwood.

Finally, please know that we are listening. I am listening. The museum is currently in the midst of province-wide engagement to help shape our future, and we need your support. Since Sept. 2023, we have hosted engagement sessions including in-person engagement throughout the province and virtual sessions. If you were not able to attend a session, there is an online survey open until the end of this year that asks key questions about the future of the Royal BC Museum. It is very important that we hear from you. Please visit

As you can see, tremendous, exciting and important work is happening at your provincial museum, as we work diligently and thoughtfully to become a reimagined, inclusive and dynamic institution for the people of B.C. and all who visit this important provincial institution. 

Tracey Drake, CEO of the Royal BC Museum

Scan the QR code below to participate in the survey and have your say.