After three-and-a-half years of construction, the $375-million Royal Alberta Museum opens to the public at noon Wednesday.
Visitors will be greeted by an Albertosaurus roaring through the lobby and a 100-year-old Edmonton biplane, props to our capital aviation history, suspended above.
"There’s a sweet spot there; you can see everything unfold," said executive director Chris Robinson.
"You can stand there and see that there’s a gift shop and a cafe; there’s the entrances to the natural history hall, the human history hall, the feature exhibit hall. So it begins in the lobby."
Deeper inside, there’s an air fart machine in the children’s gallery sure to amuse, the ever popular bug gallery and a nursery where curators raise the young creepy-crawlies.
The human history hall tells more than a 150 stories including the rise of the Edmonton Oilers dynasty and the enduring love affair Albertans have with their pick-up trucks, Robinson said.
Edmonton architect Donna Clare designed the building.
"When my parents took me as a young girl to the then-Provincial Museum of Alberta, it showed me that Alberta was important and that its people — people like me — could dream and dream big," she recalls. Who doesn’t love a mammoth? You can find one in the museum’s gift shop. (Adrienne Lamb/CBC) "It showed me that I could have courage and be proud of this province and it showed me that we had so much to learn from the Indigenous people."
The museum is steeped in the cultures, languages and objects of the First Nations and Métis people of Alberta and admission is free to Indigenous visitors "in the spirit of reconciliation and to honour this unique relationship," Robinson said.
Robinson said he was often asked over the last three years if the wildlife dioramas would make the move to the new downtown digs.
"We brought down eight of our greatest hits, if you will, and we’ve complemented them with nine new dioramas," he said.
Two whitetail deer battling during rut and a lynx zeroing in on a hare are just two moments frozen in time featured at the new Royal Alberta Museum.
You can see more from inside the new Royal Alberta Museum on Our Edmonton Saturday at 10 a.m., Sunday at noon and Thanksgiving Monday at 11 a.m. on CBC TV. A lynx and a hare featured in one of the dioramas in the Wild Alberta exhibit at the Royal Alberta Museum. (Terry Reith/CBC)
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