New Royal Alberta Museum opens Oct. 3 with six days of free entry
EDMONTON Albertans growing restless for the new Royal Alberta Museum to unlock its doors don’t have much longer to wait.
The $375.5-million downtown facility, touted as the largest museum in Western Canada, will officially open to the public at noon on Oct. 3 and will begin its life by offering six days of free admission, the provincial government announced Wednesday.
“The countdown is now officially on until Albertans can once again step inside their provincial museum to find the history of Alberta they will not find anywhere else,” Culture and Tourism Minister Ricardo Miranda told a news conference.
“I think everyone involved in this extraordinary project would say we cannot wait to see all of you walking through the halls and experiencing this magnificent place.”
To help control crowds, officials said there would be 41,000 free entries available during the six days. By 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, about six hours after the announcement, all tickets initially available through the museum’s online booking system were “sold out.” A spokeswoman for the museum said they were “reviewing their capacity ” for the free days.
Museum executive director Chris Robinson said the museum will open with all of its public spaces and displays ready to go. That includes some 5,300 objects and more than 7,600 square metres of gallery space — double that of the old museum in Glenora.
The first six days will also feature a number of dance and music performances from Alberta cultural groups, Robinson said.
As for the exhibits, the facility will offer favourites from the old RAM, such as the bug gallery, along with new exhibits that have never been seen before.
Guests can visit halls dedicated to Alberta’s human history and natural history, as well as an interactive children’s gallery. There will also be a free admission space for the Manitou Stone, a sacred object to Indigenous people.
Miranda acknowledged that getting the museum ready has been a complex and time-consuming project.
Exterior construction of the building was completed on budget and on time in the fall of 2016. The province then announced it expected to have the facility open by late 2017, but ended up requiring 10 months more.
“As you can imagine, moving all those pieces, engaging with Indigenous people to tell their stories in culturally meaningful ways that are respectful, takes a lot of time, takes a lot of conversation,” Miranda said. “We also had to ensure that in the bug gallery, for example, that we had the live specimens acclimatized. A lot of work had to be done to ensure all of these moving pieces fit nicely together in addition
A lot of work had to be done to ensure all of these moving pieces fit.
to adding the new pieces.”
About 2.4 million objects had to be moved from the former site, he said.
In addition to the new building, the museum has modernized its woolly mammoth logo that has been in use since 1967.
The opening hours for the first six days are as follows:
Wednesday, Oct. 3: Noon to 5 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 4: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5 to Monday, Oct. 8: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Normal hours and admission prices will commence on Oct. 9.
Royal Alberta Museum executive director Chris Robinson says the first six days will feature a number of dance and music performances.