“The whole history of British Columbia cannot be fully told without more Asian, Black and Indigenous stories. I hope this is what will be addressed when the museum authorities renovate it.”
Commentary by a journalist, writer and graduate of the University of Victoria Haida.
No one has a clear idea of what the administration of the Royal BC Museum plans to do with the third floor. The statement by the museum’s acting CEO Daniel Muzyka was devoid of detail and opened the door to troubling speculation.
The accompanying address by Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sports, was also empty. Both have spoken widely of “decolonization,” which is particularly unnecessary as the term can mean anything to anyone.
“Decolonization” can mean illegally knocking down statues in Victoria Harbor or changing education to better reflect British Columbia’s history. In the case of the RBCM, they should learn from it.
There is no doubt that the Becoming BC section of the third floor is unacceptably lacking in representation of a culture that is not British. The whole history of British Columbia cannot be fully told without more Asian, Black and Indigenous stories. Hopefully this is what will be addressed when the museum authorities renovate it.
It would be terrible if the recreations of HMS Discovery and the Old Town were removed forever in the name of reconciliation. They are irreplaceable and they are a lot of fun. I am indigenous and their removal would not “reconcile” me with the museum at all.
It would be part of this strange new idea in Canada that physical objects depicting anything or anyone from before 1980 are literally harmful to Indigenous peoples. “Harm” is the last word to be irreparably abused these days.
For all the abstract nonsense our so-called opinion leaders are brewing these days, I’m not “hurt” by the presence of Discovery and the Old Town. This is a ridiculously condescending and offensive theory.
Things much worse than 18th century boat pastiches harmed the Indigenous peoples of Canada. The cheap food makes Douglas Street McDonald’s more harmful to me than the recreated rear of Discovery.
I would probably skip my next trip to the RBCM if they do away with the Discovery and Old Town. The giant woolly mammoth on the second floor is still charming, but that doesn’t justify paying $ 27 for a museum ticket.
Contrary to the silly notion that indigenous people are inherently allergic to it, I like to walk around well-constructed replicas of historic ships and cobblestone streets.
People in general tend to like him regardless of their ethnicity. It’s immersive and unforgettable. The smell of tar as you walk on Discovery’s wooden planks awakens fond childhood memories.
Many other sections of Becoming BC are also excellent. The taxidermized horse in the Peace River scene is strangely endearing.
The third floor is not perfect at all. He desperately needs the input of Indigenous experts to revamp the First Peoples Gallery.
The 20th century lobby section is downright boring. It could easily be converted into a section for new stories that have yet to be told by the museum. Not many people will miss seeing the collection of randomly assembled items from your grandparents’ garage sale.
Muzyka would do everyone a favor by providing more details on the renovations to the third floor next week.
No one wants the Discovery or the Old Town to disappear. They wouldn’t hurt anyone unless they physically collapse and run over a group of tourists from Seattle or Germany.
The RBCM can be improved by revamping the First Peoples Gallery and adding non-white voices to the Becoming BC section. Please and thank you.
Do not deny current and future generations the benefit of the rest.