Reason #21 of '101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton'

Royal Alberta Museum

by emil tiedemann

ON Thursday, December 7, 1967, Edmonton officially opened the doors to the Provincial Museum of Alberta, a project 17 years in the making. The public who attended that opening day took in galleries featuring the fur trade, pioneer life, agriculture & industry, and early photographs of Aboriginals that were taken by Ernest Brown and Harry Pollard
A rendering of the new Royal Alberta Museum, opening in 2018 in downtown Edmonton!

As the years went by, the museum expanded and added more galleries and new exhibits, everything from Australian Aboriginal art to Japanese kites. In order to maintain its growing collection, the museum began to charge admission in 1990. Later exhibits at the museum focused on Native Culture, natural history, wildlife, entomology, and of course, dinosaurs. That’s in addition to rotating exhibits from around the globe. 

Queen Elizabeth II visited the museum in the summer of 2005, bestowing royal patronage, and on May 24th of that year, it was renamed the Royal Alberta Museum. Located in the beautiful Old Glenora neighbourhood, the Royal Alberta Museum premises is also home to the Provincial Archives, public gardens and art, and the stunning Government House, the former official residence of the Lieutenant Governors of Alberta. 

But all good things must come to an end, as they say, and this picturesque locale is no exception. In April 2011, the City announced that a new building for the Royal Alberta Museum would be built in the downtown, just north of City Hall, and will open in 2017, the museum’s 50th anniversary year. It closed for good on Sunday, December 6, 2015. 
A tiny Aboriginal scene that was part of the old Museum in Glenora.

The brand new Royal Alberta Museum in downtown Edmonton will open in late 2017 as the largest museum in Western Canada, twice the size of the old one (at 82,000 square feet!). It promises to provide “memorable experiences through thought-provoking exhibitions, powerful programs and excellent services.” 

The new building will meet international environmental standards, it will offer more behind-the-scenes visibility, an expansive outdoors patio and gardens, and will include exciting new natural and human history wings! #yegmuseum


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