THE Royal BC Museum has unveiled the Community Gallery, an innovative new public perspectives platform, and is inviting people to take a look and contribute their own stories and images to the online exhibition space.
Exploring big ideas through multiple perspectives, the Community Gallery was born in the spring of 2020, in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, from a desire to document and capture that moment in time.
“We invited people to share their experiences and images of what their lived experience was during the pandemic,” says Chris O’Connor, Royal BC Museum learning program developer and project lead. “We received an incredible amount of responses, photos, videos and more, but we didn’t have an existing means to collate and share them. We created the online Community Gallery as a place for all these big ideas and contemporary themes to live.”
The project has grown over time to include a number of themed virtual exhibition spaces, each showcasing the breadth and depth of people’s opinions, experiences, and insights on a variety of topics.
From “Finding Nature in the City” and “I Am Here”—two youth-centred, community-led exhibitions—to the reflective “RBCM Through the Ages”, all the way through to the initial inspiration, the simply titled “COVID-19” exhibition, each exhibition touches on a different moment in time and moment of the human experience.
“That feeling of connectedness and shared history is something the Community Gallery provides space for and celebrates,” O’Connor says.
The platform also allows the museum to have a level of responsiveness to current events that its core galleries and travelling exhibitions, which can take years to create, do not provide.
Another perk of the online exhibition space is that there’s no end date for the website or the public’s involvement with the platform.
“It’s a legacy project, which means it could be up for years instead of an exhibition’s typical three- or six-month run,” says O’Connor. “It’s a space that can hold these exhibitions for a much longer period of time while still growing and evolving.”
The public is invited to explore the site, read, learn and contribute their own photos, stories and even Community Gallery exhibition themes. Whatever direction future exhibitions go, the platform is designed to grow and adapt to meet the wants and needs of the people who use it. Contributions are not accessioned as part of the museum collections.
See for yourself at community.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca.
About the Royal BC Museum: The Royal BC Museum explores the province’s human history and natural history, advances new knowledge and understanding of BC, and provides a dynamic forum for discussion and a place for reflection. The museum and archives celebrate culture and history, telling the stories of BC in ways that enlighten, stimulate and inspire. Located in Victoria on the traditional territory of the Lekwungen (Songhees and Xwsepsum Nations), we are a hub of community connections in BC—on-site, offsite, and online—taking pride in our collective histories.
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