At the Royal BC Museum you can see totem poles and dinosaur footprints, learn about British Columbia’s human and natural history, and visit two of the oldest buildings in the province. Founded in 1886, the museum joined forces with the BC Archives in 2003 to create one of Canada’s most revered cultural museums.
The museum prides itself on exhibiting its artifacts in realistic settings. In the Natural History Galleries, see massive tree trunks and a trickling stream in the Coastal Forest exhibit, home to cougars and elk. At the Ice Age display, look for the real tusks and teeth of woolly mammoths that inhabited this region around 10,000 years ago. Go to the tidal pool to listen to museum docents talk about marine life. Families will love looking through telescopes and portholes of a Victorian-era submarine at the Ocean Station.
On the museum’s third floor, walk through a replica of the stern of HMS Discovery, once manned by Captain George Vancouver. Stroll along a wood-cobbled street in the Old Town and pan for gold at the water wheel.
In the museum’s renowned First Peoples Galleries, enter the ceremonial house of a Kwakwaka‘wakw chief and see a diverse range of artifacts dated from the early 19th-century to today. Objects include button blankets, masks, fishing tools, spindle whorls, snowshoes, oolichan grease bowls, cedar-bark capes and potlatch goods.
Continue your exploration of British Columbia's First Nations history outside the museum in Thunderbird Park with its remarkable carved totem poles.
While you are outside, look for the hadrosaur and carnosaur footprints, replicating the huge marks left behind by the dinosaurs that once roamed the Peace River Canyon.Visit the Native Plant Garden to get acquainted with more than 400 regional plant species.
The Royal BC Museum is a short walk from the Inner Harbour. There are pay-and-display parking spaces nearby and public buses stop close to the main entrance. The museum is open daily, except for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Free guided tours of the First Peoples, Natural History and Modern History galleries are available. Find the schedule and further details on the museum’s official website.