Premier Notley opens Alberta’s mammoth provincial museum

EDMONTON — Alberta’s new provincial museum in downtown Edmonton is officially open.

Premier Rachel Notley unveiled a life-sized statue of the Royal Alberta Museum’s signature Ice Age mammoth in the main rotunda Wednesday.

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The museum, which cost $375.5 million, has 7,600 square metres of exhibition space.

There are more than 5,300 objects on display in rooms dedicated to natural and human history, a children’s gallery and bugs.

There’s also space for the Manitou Stone, a meteorite considered by First Nations to be spiritually significant.

Notley acknowledged former premier Ed Stelmach, who was responsible for getting the museum project started in 2011.

Objects range from pre-history to the modern, from the sacred to the mundane.

There are First Nations canoes, gems, minerals, dioramas of buffalo and other wild animals, dinosaur skeletons and a pickup truck to acknowledge Alberta’s love affair with the automobile.

A one-day pass costs $19 for adults, but there is no charge to view the Manitou Stone.

Notley noted that Indigenous stories and artifacts are woven through all the exhibits.

“Indigenous cultures and perspectives are prominent throughout the museum, as they rightly should be,” Notley told the crowd that included Stelmach.

“This museum beautifully represents who we are as Albertans and where we came from.”

Audrey Poitras, president of the Métis Nation of Alberta, said preservation is central to her people.

“We have fought long and hard to preserve our own way of life, our culture and our heritage,” she said. “A portion of our history and our story will be told by the pieces of the past that make up the Indigenous section of this museum.”

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