royal alberta museum
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visitors since 1967

Museum on the Move FAQ

New Ram Project

Construction on the new museum started early in 2014. The building is expected to be complete in mid-2016. Additional time will be needed to acclimatize the building and install the exhibits and artifacts. We will be in a position to know an opening date once construction has concluded. Our hope is that the new museum might be able to open in late 2017 or early 2018, depending on construction.

The new museum will be located between 97 street and 99 street, in the heart of Edmonton's downtown arts district.

The total project cost is $375.5 million. The Alberta Government is investing $253 million, while the federal government has contributed $122.5 million.

The Alberta Government made the decision in 2011.

The museum needs enough space to display its growing collections, and to host major international touring exhibitions. Beyond that, there is space required for curatorial work, research, storage, other visitor amenities such as classrooms, a children's gallery, a gift shop and café, office space and more. As well, research has shown that the best museum design has no more than two floors of galleries. Designing a building to meet those needs was not physically possible on the Glenora site. It would have been far too crowded.

There are about 3,000 existing parking stalls in a 500m radius of the new museum. About 2,800 parking stalls are proposed for the Station Lands development to the immediate north of the Museum. We are balancing the need for parking with the objective of environmental sustainability by encouraging public transit as a means to access the Museum. The Museum will have a dedicated drop-off location for buses and large groups. The Museum is working with the City of Edmonton to ensure close drop-off for people with disabilities near the main entrance.

By doubling the amount of gallery space in the building and adding new amenities such as group arrivals, lunchrooms and activity rooms we will be able to more than double the number of students/school groups that can be in the building at any one time.

No. We do currently offer memberships called 'Mammoth Passes' and we also work closely with the Friends of Royal Alberta Museum Society but membership is not required to visit. We are open to all Albertans.

Yes. The details of this have not yet been finalized.

The new museum will give us double the exhibition space that we presently have at the Glenora site allowing us to put more collections on display and tell more stories about Alberta's natural and human history. As details come together, information will be communicated to the public.

There has been extensive input and consultation from the Aboriginal community in the form of a 24-person panel, including representatives of Treaty 6 on whose traditional land the museum is situated, who came together shortly after the new museum project was announced. The panel includes a diversity of representatives from Alberta's Aboriginal community. Outside the scope of the new museum project, the Royal Alberta Museum consults with the Aboriginal community on an ongoing basis about many different matters.

Generally speaking, we will be communicating during our transition time primarily through digital communications – television, e-newsletters, social media platforms, website, etc. As we ramp up to moving into our new venue, there will be an ever-increasing presence through a number of marketing initiatives and activities.

Current Location

The museum has outgrown the Glenora site. The new location will be about twice the size of the existing building and will provide direct access to the LRT and major bus routes.

There has been no decision on the future of the Royal Alberta Museum building when the existing museum closes.

Although the museum closed its doors in December 2015, the building will still be occupied with staff and collections until likely Fall 2019, as we make the massive move to our new location.

From a museum perspective, the building is too small for the growing collections and stories we need to tell.

The museum's collection is very large. Much of it cannot be displayed or enjoyed due to a lack of space. Space restraints also make it difficult to accommodate the growing demand for school visitations. The new building will have double the space of the existing facility.

Transition Plans

2015 marks the final year of public operation at the Glenora building as the Royal Alberta Museum is preparing for the transition to its new, expanded downtown museum (located at 103A Avenue, between 97 Street and 99 Street).

We will be in a position to know an opening date once construction has concluded. Our hope is that the new museum might be able to open in late 2017 or early 2018, depending on construction.

The museum's galleries in its Glenora location are now closed.

However, while the galleries may be closed, behind the scenes, museum staff are busy working with collections and doing research to bring you fascinating and intriguing stories about Alberta's heritage. You can stay connected with the museum during our transition with programs such as our Curatorial Lecture Series, the Alberta Quilt Documentation Project and more. Please visit our Events page for current information.

As well, our theatre remains available for special event facility rentals. Bookings can be made by calling (780) 453-9156.

This transition is a big job.

It is a difficult and intricate task to bring the story of Alberta to life. With more than double the space in the new museum, staff will work tirelessly in 2016 to imagine, create, develop and build new galleries that will inspire and educate visitors. Part of this content development process also includes consulting with Albertans on: natural history, human history, inclusive design, children's gallery and Aboriginal content. The museum is working with communities to develop stories and galleries that matter to Albertans.

On top of gallery development, the Royal Alberta Museum has to physically pack up and move its thousands of artifacts. This is not a simple move. There are a number of unique artifacts with unique requirements...which take time. The utmost care and attention needs to be taken when extracting, conserving, acclimating, transferring and installing all existing and new artifacts.

When we built the Syncrude Gallery of Aboriginal Culture (10,000 square feet), it took us almost 8 years. When we redesigned the Wild Alberta gallery, it took us more than 2 years. This time we need to populate 419,000 square feet. This includes researching, creating and building stories, galleries, conservation and preservation work, moving objects, fitting a café and gift shop, setting up labs and actually moving more than 200 staff members and all of their work spaces. It also means developing programs from scratch.

There will be a large number of objects that must be pulled from the current exhibitions. This task must be completed using machinery and a number of workers on scene. With the galleries essentially becoming a construction zone, this poses a number of safety risks at any given time. When it comes to visitor experience, the fact is that once many of the dioramas have been moved there won't be much of anything to see.

Once the new museum building is constructed, work needs to be completed to ensure the building systems function appropriately before the artifacts and exhibits are installed. We will be in a position to know an opening date once construction has concluded. Our hope is that the new museum might be able to open in late 2017 or early 2018, depending on construction.

While the museum is physically closed, behind the scenes museum staff are busy working with collections and doing research to bring you fascinating and intriguing stories about Alberta's heritage. Our presence will very much remain in the community and across Alberta. We will continue to share our stories and treasures through online webpages and social media activity. Stay tuned for more details!

You can also stay connected through special programs, such as our Curatorial Lecture Series. Visit our Events page for current information.

As a Government of Alberta facility, all trade or building services are acquired through a competitive bid process. Interested firms should register with Alberta Purchasing Connection under your industry code(s). You will not only receive information on services required by the museum, but all relevant Government of Alberta contracts. http://www.purchasingconnection.ca/

Construction of the new building is expected to be completed later this year. Initially, the intent is to move only the artifacts that are going on display at the new museum. This will be done primarily by our own museum staff and specialized movers. The main office move will happen late 2017. The main collection move will happen 2018 and 2019. Moving services will be acquired through a competitive bid process so please register with Alberta Purchasing Connection.

Generally, Front of House jobs for the new museum (admissions, cashiers, café, gift shop, education, public programming, interpreters) will not be filled until Summer/Fall 2017. Available opportunities will be posted on the Government of Alberta website. To apply for a job, click on the "e;apply now"e; button and follow the directions. All applications go directly to Human Resources. Do not send your resume directly to the museum. We are unable to screen or forward your application.