Seeing as I like to try all the Edmonton things, I decided to visit the new Royal Alberta Museum. I have minimal memory of the original location because I only visited a couple times while in school. What I do remember: it wasn’t anything special.
That has definitely changed.
The museum is a place to explore and remember Alberta’s fascinating history. It boasts 2.4 million stories, unique to the province. Read more about that here. The original museum was renamed the Royal Alberta Museum when Queen Elizabeth II visited Edmonton in 2005.
While there are parts of the museum that were basically moved from the original, they definitely improved on one area in particular: the Human History exhibit.
But I’ll touch on that later.
When you first enter the museum, there’s a giant space left for temporary exhibits. THE VIKINGS ARE COMING! …to the Feature Gallery April 18, 2019 and will remain on display until mid October. I’m already looking forward to the highly anticipated historic exhibition.
Space for the Littles
To the left is the Bug Gallery. If I remember correctly, it’s pretty similar to the original exhibit, but it is displayed a bit better. I hoped for a greater focus on local invertebrates, but seeing the different insects from around the world is cool too.
This room gears towards a younger crowd. Everything is lower height-wise and many of the displays are interactive. There’s even a Children’s Gallery next door (which I’m pretty sure is just an educational indoor playground, although I didn’t check it out).
Natural History at the Royal Alberta Museum
Upstairs is the Natural History Hall; it’s quite a large exhibit. To sum it up: rocks, fossils, and Alberta’s wildlife. If you’re at all into geological history, gem stones (oo sparkles!), dinosaurs, the Ice Age, or seeing the animal systems at play in the province today, you could spend a few hours in this exhibit.
Diving into Alberta’s Human History
Back downstairs and to the right is the Human History Hall which was by far my favourite exhibit. It’s been updated to reflect the immensely improved education of today, realizing the history of the province truly is rooted in its first peoples: the First Nations groups of Alberta.
While it does such an amazing job, the museum could have gone into more detail on certain areas. I do understand, though, that they have limited space available and want to cover everything at least a little bit.
Aside from the First Nations history at the Royal Alberta Museum, there is also the history of Alberta’s settlers. The exhibit dives into our farming past, as well as the many different European nations that settled there to farm, acknowledging the hardships they faced to do so.
A few of the rooms are “temporary” exhibits as well, like the Textiles room featuring GWG (Great Western Garment Co.) and the Alberta Stories room which showcases the World War history. These rooms will be updated over time, but not for quite a while.
For more recent history you can check out the Alberta Transforms area, which features events from 1945 to the present day. Discover things like the Edmonton Oilers’ rise to fame, the changing political climate, and the working world of Alberta here.
Visiting the Royal Alberta Museum
I hope I didn’t spoil too much, but gave you an insight as to what to look forward to when you visit the Royal Alberta Museum yourself. Above all, it’s very well done. It’s one of the only places that dives into so many areas of Alberta’s past, while still looking ahead to the future.
If you’re planning on spending a day at the museum, check out their café and gift shop. I think the gift shop is one of the only places to find souvenirs in Edmonton.
For more information and to purchase tickets for the museum, visit their website here.