Behind the scenes at the RBCM

July 29, 2010 at 10:22 pm | In arts, local_not_global, victoria | Comments Off on Behind the scenes at the RBCM

Yesterday I went on a “back of the house” tour of the Royal BC Museum: wow. British Columbia residents, take note – this is your museum, and you can organize small groups and ask to go on one of these tours. It’s staggering to learn just how much is tucked away in storage, including significant Emily Carr works, the British Columbia Constitution (with its huge waxen Great Seal attached), and a trove of First Nations art and artifacts.

Among the latter was one object that took my breath away – a Sitka tunic, probably made in the 1920s, from Alaska. Find the museum’s page for the tunic by searching for “tunic” in the “ethnology” section (sorry, can’t link directly); if you scroll down the page, you get a complete set of images, including close-up details.

Here’s what the front looks like:


And here’s the back:


This piece is fantastically modern looking – I was convinced it was from the late 20th century. But it’s from the beginning of the century. Lots to learn about design here…

The collections are a great resource that BC residents (in Victoria or visiting) can take advantage of, and if you’re not actually here, visit the museum’s resources online here. Be forewarned: the search functions are a tad complicated, definitely not intuitive or especially user-friendly. But the museum will be switching to a new collections management software soon, from MINISIS. It’s supposed to make online access truly easy – a welcome improvement, given how much of the collection is archived and/or in storage, and how useful the collection could be to everyone in British Columbia, including those who can’t easily travel to Victoria to visit in person.

Edit: Two more images of the view from the 12th floor of the Fannin Tower.

First, looking toward the Empress Hotel, Conference Centre, and condos and offices beyond:


And next, looking toward Inner Harbour and Upper Harbour (with the Johnson Street Bridge top right):

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