Royal Alberta Museum to open in early 2018
'Making a museum is pretty hard stuff'
Chris Robinson points to a glassed-in area on the roof of the new Royal Alberta Museum.
"This is our greenhouse where we'll grow the plants for our bug room," explains the museum's executive director.
It's one of the new features in the space at 103A Avenue and 98th Street, which is expected to open to the public in early 2018, according to Robinson.
The $375.5-million project will feature 72,000 square feet of permanent exhibition space, roughly double the area in the museum's old location which closed in December 2015.
The new location will showcase 400 exhibits displaying 5,300 objects.
Standing in one of three new large loading bays where a steady stream of trucks deposit wooden crates filled with display cases, artifacts and models Robinson admits, "making a museum is pretty hard stuff.
As the opening date draws nearer, Robinson can't wait for visitors to see the new facility. Standing in the main lobby, he said he believes the spaces is laid out in an intuitive way.
"You can see all the galleries, you can see the admissions desk, you can see the cafe, you can see the gift shop so everything will just, I hope, make sense to the visitor."
Robinson thinks they've also been able to blur the line between previously off-limit areas of the museum and the everyday guest experience.
He points to the nursery in the popular bug room, where the creepy crawlers hatch, something the public will be able to see for themselves.
- Royal Alberta Museum ice age exhibit a 'swan song' for longtime exhibit builder
- New Royal Alberta Museum unveils historic Edmonton artwork
- Royal Alberta Museum hosts 48-hour party to honour 48 years
Carmen Li, who is helping to pack up 2.4 million objects in the collection and making sure it all gets safely to the new location, has converted the old feature gallery space into an inspection and packing centre.
Dressed in white gloves and lab coats, staff painstakingly clean and stabilize artifacts for transport.
Many of the objects are getting something new, a barcode.
Robinson estimates they've printed a kilometre worth of barcodes for the museum on the move.
"It's a lot of work to make a space that's 419,000 square feet. We've got a pretty busy summer ahead."
You can see more from the old and new locations of the Royal Alberta Museum on Our Edmonton: Capital Gems Edition Saturday at 10 a.m. and Sunday and Monday a 11 a.m. on CBC TV.