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Construction has officially begun on the new collections and research building (CRB) for the Royal BC Museum.
The separate facility is being built to store and safeguard collections from risks such as flooding.
Some items to be stored in the new building include archival books and manuscripts, rare and priceless artworks such as watercolours from the 1700s, several paintings by Emily Carr and early provincial maps.
Maple Reinders Constructors Ltd. was awarded a $204.8-million contract for the design and construction of the CRB in Colwood.
Total capital project costs for the CRB are estimated at $270 million.
The Province says it is estimated the CRB will also support economic recovery by creating around 1,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction.
“It’s an important day as we move forward on a new collections and archives building that will properly store and safeguard our province’s shared history, priceless artifacts and archives,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport.
In preparation for construction, Shaker Faith workers led a ceremonial land blessing for the site and fellow workers.
“I was honoured to witness the Shaker Faith workers bless and prepare the land of the CRB prior to construction,” added Popham. “I look forward to working with the Royal BC Museum, Maple Reinders, the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations, and the City of Colwood on this important new building.”
The BC Government says the 15,200 square-metre building will be a state-of-the-art facility and will improve access for the public—as only 1% of the Province’s vast collection is on display.
It will also provide dedicated research labs and learning spaces.
“The provincial collections and archives help us to share the stories of our cultures and communities. It’s vital to ensure they’re kept safe for future generations,” said Tracey Drake, acting CEO, Royal BC Museum. “This exceptional facility will also provide a window into the world of the museum, enabling visitors to see our paleontologists, entomologists, botanists, zoologists and more, engaged in active research projects.”
Government expects substantial completion in fall 2025 and anticipates a public opening in 2026.