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Wed June 29 2022

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New museum to be built in British Columbia

16 May The Canadian province of British Columbia (BC) is to invest CA$789m (£498m) in a new museum to safeguard its collection and make it more accessible.

The new museum will support more than 1,950 direct construction jobs, as well as more than 1,050 associated jobs. It is expected to open in 2030.

The government of the province said that the new museum is designed to "reflect the experiences and perspectives of all who contributed to BC’s history, providing a cultural legacy for generations to come".

Premier John Horgan said: “For decades, people from British Columbia and around the globe have come to the Royal BC Museum to learn about our special corner of the world. For just as long, the stories told here have failed to accurately reflect our colonial history or include everyone, and priceless collections are now being put at risk in an ageing building. That’s why today, we are making this historic investment to build a safer, more inclusive and accessible modern building. Once complete, the new museum will be a flagship destination for tourism and a place where generations to come will learn about the richness and diversity of BC’s history.”

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Like the Royal BC Museum’s collections and research building in Colwood, the new museum will be built to achieve high efficiency for all its HVAC systems. Both buildings will incorporate mass timber construction. These approaches will deliver significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and energy costs, said the province.

The new museum will also be one of the first government projects of this size that partners with local First Nations on the project team, participating in both project development and delivery, including design influence to reflect the Lekwungen peoples, and members of the Songhees Nation and Esquimalt Nation.

“Our government is working hard to build BC’s museum for the next generation,” said Melanie Mark, minister of tourism, arts, culture and sport. “We are turning the walls inside out to create a dynamic and engaging space that will be the province’s flagship historical centre, inclusive of all the stories of the people who have shaped BC. Museums are more important than ever to be a canvas for our history and inspiration for our future. Our partnership with the local First Nations to guide us to this stage is truly reconciliation in action. From the exhibits and programs to the employees and building itself, we are bringing the people’s museum into the 21st century.”

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