Royal BC Museum brings public engagement tour to Kelowna

Museum tour in Kelowna

“Buster” the dinosaur is coming to Kelowna.

The popular Dinosaurs of BC exhibition from the Royal BC Museum will be travelling to the Okanagan in mid-2024.

Travelling exhibitions was one of the topics on the table when RBCM brought its public engagement roadshow to Kelowna this week.

The museum team stopped in the city Wednesday evening. They’ve embarked on a province-wide information gathering tour, in the wake of former Premier John Horgan’s June 2022 decision to hit pause on the $789-million planned rebuild of the Royal B.C. Museum.

So what were they hoping to hear?

“We’re ultimately looking to build a partnership with each of the different communities based upon where they’re coming from, as opposed to being the director of that relationship because we’re the provincial museum. So this is really a chance for us to engage in a meaningful way and I think in a way that the museum hasn’t, historically,” explains CEO Alisia Dubois.

She says they’re trying to build a story at the museum that more fully represents the province. It was also an opportunity to understand what aspects of the collection could be brought to the community.

That will include more travelling exhibits.

“Just because we’re doing the engagement doesn’t mean that we’re going to slow down on the production of our travelling exhibitions. But what we’d like to do is work with the community to find out what would the community be most interested in and how do we start to co-create those things together in a way that really speaks to the community members,” says Dubois.

However, it’s unlikely that any of the government funding earmarked for RBCM would find its way to communities outside Victoria.

“A lot of people don’t understand the funding framework that the museum works under,” said Dubois. “We do receive a government grant every year, but we’re actually obligated to generate our own revenue and that’s actually more than 50 per cent of our annual operating spending.”

One of the popular travelling exhibitions that will be coming to Kelowna in mid-2024 is Dinosaurs of BC. It features “Buster”, the Iron Lizard of Sustus River and other dinosaurs that once roamed across the province.

About 40 people turned out to the session in Kelowna. The next stops are in Prince George and Nanaimo on March 10 and March 15.

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