The Royal Alberta Museum has unveiled architectural plans for a major facelift that will kick off with a new $200-million wing.

Thewing will be built at the southwest corner of the Edmonton museum. At 250,000 square feet, it will house new galleries and create 300 underground parking spaces.


A digital recreation shows the proposed interior of the revamped museum. ((Royal Alberta Museum))

Museum director Bruce McGillvray said Friday the museum, built in 1967, is "bursting at its seams" with 10 million objects documenting Alberta's history.

"We have those magnificent collections and no place toshowcase them. We've gone for years without a place that speaks to Alberta history beyond our Aboriginal gallery. So there's a lot of stories, magnificent Alberta stories, that can be told."


A bird's eye view of a completely revamped Royal Alberta Museum. ((Royal Alberta Museum))

Starting Nov. 23, museum visitors will be able to see an architect's model of the revamped building.

Construction on the first phase of the project is expected to beginin thespring, with an opening planned for 2011.

The new galleries will be called Ancient Alberta, Alberta Archaeology, Alberta History, the Southesk Collection of aboriginal artifacts and the Bug Room. There will also be dedicated children's spaces and an information area.

The Wild Alberta and Aboriginal Cultures galleries will be updated.

Future expansions revealed Friday include moving the front entrance to the north side of the building and will happen when the museum needs morespace and has the funding.

The upgrades were first announced in 2005 when Queen Elizabeth was in Edmonton for Alberta's centennial celebrations.

On Friday, the Alberta government announced it would kick in another $20 millionto the $150 million already set aside for the project to help offset rising construction costs.

Ottawa has contributed $30 million and the City of Edmonton $50,000.